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Address to the Victorian Liberal Party Multicultural Dinner , Clayton South, Melbourne



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Address to the Victorian Liberal Party Multicultural Dinner, Clayton South, Melbourne April 10, 2013

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

Ladies and gentlemen, I am so proud and so honoured to be here and I am so buoyed and so exhilarated at the reception that you have given me and those who are representing our country in state and federal parliaments.

I would like to make a bit of a fuss about those who are representing us in the federal parliament and those who aspire to

represent us in the federal parliament. So, first of all can I ask my current federal parliamentary colleagues to stand up, Scott Ryan, Mitch Fifield, Alan Tudge and Senator Helen Kroger.

It is an extraordinary honour to represent an electorate or a state in the federal parliament but it is also a tough job. It takes great

patriotism to do it and I am proud to have such fine colleagues. But I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that I am not content with the colleagues I have. I want more of them! And that’s why I would now ask all of those in this room who are contesting the

coming election, to please start making their way up here to the stage. Now, I can see Donna Petrovich very close. Donna, our candidate for McEwen. I can see Michael Sukkar, our candidate for Deakin, please come on up. Emanuele Cicchiello, please

make your way to the stage. Ricardo Balancy, come on up. Fazal Cader, thank you so much. Garry Spencer. How are you, Garry? Very good. Nick McGowan, come on up. Kevin Ekendahl, come on up. And John Nguyen, come on up.

Now, every one of these fine Australians has put his or her hand up to represent our people and our country and they are all

seeking to serve our country seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. I am proud of them. You are proud of them. They will do our country proud.

Before I ask them to return to their tables, I just want to give you this interesting bit of information which indicates just how much

our country has changed and how much our Liberal Party has changed over the last few years. For a long time, I regret to say, our Liberal Party did not fully reflect the diversity of modern Australia. As a conservative party, we are rightly slow to change, but

we were too slow to change and to accommodate the diversity, the richness, the multiculturalism of modern Australia. But we have well and truly changed and we have well and truly learnt a necessary lesson and I want to tell you that if all of our candidates

are successful, by far the most common surname in the Liberal Party Room will be Nguyen. It will be. We have John Nguyen running in Chisholm and we have two Andrew Nguyen’s - one running in Queensland, one running in New South Wales - and I’d

like to see the Nguyen family well represented in Federal Parliament!

People who have come to this country from many parts of Asia; who have come, worked hard, prospered, succeeded and become first class Australians - that is the face and the name of modern Australia. Well done and thank you so much to our

candidates.

Ladies and gentlemen, Tony Snell our President said earlier that 'enough is enough' and I often think that enough is enough when we’re listening to long speeches from politicians at gatherings like this. So, I promise you, I won’t speak at great length tonight, but

I do want to tell you a little bit about myself and I do want to say a little bit about our country.

First of all, I want to say how brave every single migrant to this country is, because every single one of you has done something that those who are native born have never done. You have been gutsy enough to take your future in your hands and to go to a

country which is not yours and make it your own. That says of you that you are a person of great courage and it says of that country - the country that you have chosen - that this is a country of which everyone should be very proud. The fact that so many

millions of people chose Australia in that way, voted with their feet for this country makes me so proud of Australia and it makes me so proud of those people who have paid the ultimate vote of confidence, the ultimate tribute to our country.

Back in 1981, I was 23 years old and I went to the airport with my family and with a group of my friends and as I was about to go

through the gate at Sydney Airport, I found myself blubbering like a baby - blubbering like a baby. Now, I was simply leaving my home for two years to be a student in England, no less - a place where I knew people, where I had friends, where I spoke the

language and I was terrified, I was absolutely terrified. The step that so many of you and your families have made to come to a

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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country where you knew no one and you didn’t speak the language - such a great step, such great faith, and again the fact that you made it, speaks volumes of you and the fact that you have succeeded speaks volumes of you and of your fellow Australians.

And I am proud to say that the next generation of the Abbott family have turned out to be much gutsier than my generation,

because when my eldest daughter was just 19, she stood at Sydney Airport - she was going to study in a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul - and not a single tear escaped her eyes as she disappeared into the Customs

area but I am proud to say that now she is the first ever member of the Abbott family to speak a language other than English. So there is progress, as time goes by!

So, I have two tasks in the time remaining to me tonight. First of all, to say what an extraordinary contribution migrants have made

to this country. Modern Australia is absolutely unimaginable without migration and migration hasn’t just provided us with people, it hasn’t just provided us with skills, it hasn’t just provided us with wealth, but it has added a heroic dimension to our national life,

because so many of the people who have come to this country have been fleeing persecution, have been leaving countries where the freedom, the justice, the prosperity and the solidarity that we take for granted are absent. So, you have added a heroic

dimension to our national life.

Also, you have enriched our national life just as this country with its opportunities and its freedom has enriched your lives. We are so lucky to have you and I would like to think that each and every one of you regard yourselves as lucky to be citizens of Australia.

The final point I want to make is that the Liberal Party will never let you down because the Liberal Party in the marrow of its bones

appreciates the great qualities that you have brought to our country. You have brought to this country a sense of family, a sense of enterprise and a sense of community. Almost every one of you have come to this country and you have worked hard, often in

small business. You’ve built community amongst people from your own background and amongst the wider Australian community and you have cherished family. As a result of your hard work, our country has security, prosperity and liberty.

The final point I want to make is that - should the privilege of the Prime Ministership come to me on the 14th of September - I

make this solemn pledge to you, my fellow Australians: never under any circumstances will I ever seek to divide Australian against Australian on the basis of class, gender and culture. Never.

In particular, I respect what everyone who comes to this country brings and I particularly respect and value the hard work and the

skills that everyone brings to this country when they come to do a job from day one - in particular, those who come to this country as skilled migrants. They do a job from day one. They pay taxes from day one. They make a contribution from day one and they

might come as temporary migrants originally, but they make the very best Australian citizens eventually. They are the most worthy, the most welcome parts of the Australian family and any government and any Prime Minister who tries to say they are not

welcome is frankly almost un-Australian.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I salute you. I salute everyone here. I cherish and I value the contribution that you have made to our country and I want to build an Australia which is worthy of you.

I want to give Australia the much better government that a great people and a great country deserve.

Thank you so much for everything you have done.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

www.tonyabbott.com.au

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