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Transcript 21355

Address at the Launch for the Call for Public Nominations for the Australian of the Year Awards Conservatorium of Music, Sydney

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: 30/06/2004

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 21355

Thank you very much Sandra. Lisa Curry-Kenny, the Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, my parliamentary colleagues, the holders of the existing awards, past recipients, ladies and gentlemen.

I think I should start my remarks by saying what incredibly impressive young musical talent this country really has. Those two performances this morning, appropriately enough at the Conservatorium of Music, have reminded us of the enormous reservoir and variety of talent that this wonderful country of ours has. Can I start by saluting the contribution that Steve Waugh and Donna and Tehree and Hugh have made in their different ways over the last six or seven months and in what they're doing as wonderful ambassadors in so many different ways, of the great capacities and the great diversity of this country.

Something that Steve said in his interview with Sandra struck me, when he said that it was very much about creating a country in which people could pursue their dreams and no matter what the adversity was, to come back and achieve what they want to do. And that is the story of the lives of millions of Australians in different ways, and the four people who were chosen in January of this year, in their own particular ways, have done all of that. Steve's sporting skills and the great leadership that he has given. The inspiration that Donna represents of somebody who has been through unbelievable pain and suffering, and demonstrated an extraordinary level of courage and inspiration, and is therefore a source of hope and comfort for so many. Tehree with her particular emphasis on something that is so important, and that is the capacity of the older generation of Australians, who have lived through so many periods in the history of this country, to give of their wisdom and their experience to the younger generations. And then finally, and certainly not least important, the extraordinary energy and vitality and enthusiasm that Hugh has brought and the inspirational leadership that he has given to encourage some what 1,500 volunteers to be involved in the activities that he regards as important, and all of us recognise as being quite inspirational. And he's a demonstration to all of us of just how important it is to recognise the constant capacity of the younger generation of this country to renew the Australian dream and to remind us that no one generation of Australians is better than the next, and that those who despair of the future of this country couldn't be more wrong and couldn't be more out of touch with the tremendous vitality and commitment of young Australians.

So if we can have for 2005 four more Australians who will in time fill the shoes of those we've got here today and to demonstrate the sort of talents that they have demonstrated, then indeed we will be very fortunate. But I know that will turn out to be the case because over the years these Awards have produced wonderful people. I think the way in which the Awards are now organised, the fact that we have contributions from each of the states and we have four categories, they're all awarded at the same time, and because of the great success of having the awards in Canberra followed by the concert outside Parliament House and the great success of that, we're going to follow that again in 2005.

Lisa, can I thank you and the members of your Council for the wonderful work that you do. I think you've given great leadership to Warren and all the other staff members who work so tremendously hard, and to the people who sponsor the National Australia Day Awards. They are a great coming together of this country, and it's an illustration... an opportunity rather, for all of us to salute people who in their different ways have contributed so much to make this, as Steve rightly called it, the greatest country in the world. So I am in that spirit delighted to launch the search for the Australians of the Year 2005. I again thank Steve and his fellow recipients for being here today. I thank them all for the wonderful work that they are doing in spreading the message and living out the things that they believe in, that they have achieved. And they make all of us as Australians feel immensely proud, and I know that in 2005 we'll find and choose people who will worthily fill their shoes and carry on that message.

Thank you.

Transcript 21355