To my fellow Australians,
To be able to address the people of our wonderful country on this Australia Day 2018 is a privilege I take very seriously. Today is the day on which we celebrate that which makes us uniquely Australian. The fact that it is the land we share that unites us as one people.
We are celebrating our good fortune in sharing a bounteous, beautiful but at times harsh and demanding land. A land that by its brute size and diversity has forged us into the resourceful and adaptive people we are. A land that has melded together peoples from hundreds of ethnic origins, vastly different cultures and many geographic areas.
It is also a day on which we should reflect on our history, think about and plan for our future.
It is the land beneath our feet that has provided our sustenance and our prosperity for generations and will continue to do so, only if we diligently work together, equally sharing our resources in the common interest of all Australians. The success we see around us, the prosperity of our people and the opportunities for future generations would not have occurred without the unity of purpose in the development of our Country and will only continue with a real sense of National purpose by working together as one people.
But sadly we are seeing greater divisions developing within our society. There is no more poignant manifestation of this division than recent calls to change or abandon this long held tradition of Australia Day. Those calling for this are hypocritical in the extreme, because without settlement by Europeans these same people would not be able to read or write their grievances and would not have the basic needs of permanent shelter and abundant food production. The culture that Europeans replaced in the great southern land was one of barest subsistence with no permanent construction, no food production, no water storage and no achievements to enhance human life.
Change for the better was inevitably going to happen.
Yet today we have people raising grievances at the achievements made since this day in 1788. These noisy minorities are all calling for a better deal as a result of their choice of residence in Australia but they have no practical plans for our future.
I note with some dismay that the claims of being left behind, hard done by or neglected in our egalitarian society are always coupled with calls for larger hand-outs from treasury. It seems to me that never do these people consider improvement by personal effort or enterprise. They seem unmindful that they are not only living in a country of which they should be proud, but a country in which they can play an active role in its future progress and achievement.
So on this Australia Day 2018 I intend to reassert some fundamental principles which have made us the great nation we are.
The first is the fact that the forebears of every single Australian living here today, came from somewhere else, including the Aboriginal people. We can assume that all of our forebears came to the great southern land looking for a better life. Even the convicts forced to migrate by the British Crown found a new start, perhaps to the surprise of many, unburdened of their crimes, a new beginning in an unknown land. It follows that every single person born in this country — regardless of ethnic origon, regardless of faith and how long their forebears have been here — is an equal and indigenous citizen of this great country. No citizen of our Australia is more important or more indigenous than any other.
You became a citizen the day you were born here. It was not bestowed on you by ancestors thousands of years ago.
Our citizenship of this great and bounteous country is our birthright and we very generously give to those who lawfully come here and swear an oath of allegiance the same citizenship rights.
But that citizenship comes with obligations. Those responsibilities know no ethnic, gender, privilege, religious or other exclusions. Our egalitarian society demands one universal set of laws for all, but this privilege we cherish has a cost and it is simply this: that subject only to your physical and mental capacity, every citizen shall hold a job or work in a lawful business sufficient to care for themselves and their families.
This personal responsibility that we all carry can only be met if your government does its part and provides to every citizen the opportunity to be productive. On this Australia Day and before every Australian citizen, I humbly admit that no recent government, including my government, has met this basic obligation. We have failed the people by failing to provide and foster the environment that sees the creation of productive jobs.
Successive governments have failed to manage our two greatest assets — our people on the one hand and our resources on the other, in the interests of the Australian people.
On this Australia Day 2018 I give a solemn undertaking that, starting immediately, my government will commence a plan that will in the shortest possible time return to our adaptive, resourceful and productive people the “Tools of Trade” they need to honour their citizenship pledge. These are specifically power, water, gas, fuel and transport. By so doing we will return jobs to Australia and to the Australian people. Until all of our people have the dignity of self-sufficiency we will halt immigration.
In recent years Australia Institutions have been training thousands of people from elsewhere to be productive workers, then often employing them to work here.
From here on we will train Australian workers for Australian jobs and put Australian interests first. Enrolling as a student in an Australian university or other eduicational institution will not be an automatic ticket to permanent Australian residency. We will cease selling off the infrastructure and associated businesses that supply our basic services and for which Government should be responsible, to those not acting in our interest.
The productive enterprises we need to provide services for our present and expanding population will be designed and built by entities owned by the Australian people. They will be managed and operated by Australian workers.
The Australian way of life, which encompasses the fabled fair go and is underpinned by personal and corporate responsibility, is what we are celebrating today. It is worth fighting for, even if that fight is against those who reside here but would demean our achievements and besmirch our forefathers by attempting to rewrite our history.
In celebrating this Australia Day we acknowledge that all who have come to this often harsh land have made mistakes. Our land has taught us lasting lessons that will equip us better to manage our future. It is a future bright with possibilities, but only so long as we work together as one people united by our common good fortune to live in and on the greatest country on earth that will be our destiny for evermore.
Ron Pike is a water consultant and third-generation irrigation farmer