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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 12978


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 05/08/2002

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 12978


Thank you very much Lisa, and first of all can I say to George and Brianna and all the other pupils and the teachers and particularly the principal of Northbridge Primary School thank you very much indeed for having us on your school grounds this morning. I can';t think of a better place in which to launch the nomination process for the Australian of the Year Awards 2003 than at a local primary school on this beautiful late winter morning and to do it front of Australia';s future.

The Australian of the Year Awards are about honouring people who provide inspiration and hope and represent the things that we like to believe demonstrate what it is to be a good and true Australian. And when you look back over the careers and the examples of people who have been Australians of the Year or Young Australians of the Year, you have the variety which is Australia, you have people who have been great medical scientists such as Professor Peter Doherty, you have great sports men and women, you have people who';ve excelled in the arts, you';ve had people such as General Peter Cosgrove, who I welcome here today, the Chief of Australia';s Defence Force who gave great inspiration and leadership in the military area. And you have people who have represented Australia';s best and compassionate instincts in working for the less privileged and the less fortunate within our community.

And today we launch not only the search for the Australian of the Year, but we also launch the search for the Young Australian of the Year, the Senior Australian and a new part of the Australian of the Year Awards, the local heroes award, and there';ll be a little bit more said about that in a moment.

But I';m here today not only to launch these nominations but particularly to thank the many sponsors, and Lisa asked you to put your right hand on your left shoulder and pat yourself on the back, I can';t somehow or other ask you to crane your neck around and read the names of all of the sponsors that are on the back of your jumper, but if you look at the jumper in front of you, you don';t have to crane your neck to do it, you can just look at the one in front of you and you will see the names of all of those Australian companies and other organisations which have sponsored and supported the Australian of the Year Awards, and I want to thank those companies, quite a number of them are represented here today, for their very great generosity. I mean, companies exist to make profits and keep their shareholders happy, and so they should, and to employ a lot of people, employing many of your mums and dads I';m sure, but they also make a great contribution to society when they help organisations and help things such as the Australian of the Year Awards. So I think we ought to put our hands together and thank all of the companies that have been very generous to the Australian of the Year Awards.

And I also want to thank Lisa Curry Kenny and all the other members of the Australia Day Council, a number of them are here today. Lisa you give great leadership to the council and to all of you who have devised the new format, and I think it';s terrific we';re launching it like this and it means that there';ll be a build-up and when the awards are announced around Australia Day next year there will be a great level of interest and great level of excitement.

I want to thank Scott for what he said today. Another example of how, I mean I bet you don';t know too many paleontologists, I bet you don';t. and I think if most of us are honest with ourselves we mightn';t have had a very well developed idea before Scott won the Young Australian of the Year eight months ago of exactly what they were. But every time I see those digital representations on the ABC of those dinosaurs, Scott I was about to say I think of you, and that sort of came out the wrong way. But I do sort of think of what it is to be a paleontologists and it';s just a example of the dimensions that this award has bought to an understanding of what Australia is. And when you look at the history and the experiences of people who';ve won that awards, I mean Ian Kiernan is here today, I don';t think anybody has done more to inculcate into the Australian community a sense of individual responsibility for caring for the Australian environment than Ian has done. And when I think of the medical scientists who have won recognition in the Australian of the Year Awards, it reminds everybody of what a richly diverse and able country we are. We are constantly reminded of how good we are at sport, we';ve had plenty of sportsmen like Pat Rafter and Mark Taylor and Allan Border who';ve been Australians of the Year. But we also need to remind ourselves that we';ve equally as good at many of other things, and that';s what the Australian of the Year Awards are very much about.

So on this beautiful morning at the end of a wonderful Commonwealth Games, that must have bought a bit of a nostalgic tear to Lisa';s eyes as she watched and heard it, and I know we send our congratulations to the Australian team that has done so wonderfully well at Manchester. Let';s give them a round of applause.

And finally and most importantly can be celebrate this morning the sheer joy it is to an Australian in this wonderful and very blessed and very fortunate country and it';s in that spirit that I launch the nominations for the Australian of the Year Awards for 2003.

Thank you.


Transcript 12978