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'Australia-land of achievement', Sydney, Wednesday, 14 October 1998: address on the occasion of the launch.

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I must confess that my primary reason for accepting the invitation to launch “Australia - Land o f Achievement" was not an appreciation of the quality and the content of the book. Indeed, the invitation was, in effect, to embark on a blind date since I had been introduced to neither the book nor its contents at the time the invitation to launch it was proffered and accepted. My primary reason for accepting the invitation was that it was proffered by my close friend and colleague and, for a period in the all too distant past, former Chief Justice, Sir Laurence Street. I knew that he would not have invited me to launch the book if it were not of first class quality and eminently worthwhile. That is not to suggest that I have had any previous experience of embarking on a blind date at his instigation.

In the event, my complete confidence in Sir Laurence’s judgment has been fully vindicated. “Australia - Land o f Achievement" is a celebration of the economic and commercial strengths and achievements of our nation. It is itself an achievement of which all associated with it are entitled to be very proud - all those who have contributed to its content and all those who have directly or indirectly been involved in its publication.

The book celebrates a number of our outstanding success stories. It defines our economic strengths as a nation and our advantages as a country with which, and within which, to do business. It also eloquently conveys, through both visual and written means, the wondrous beauty of the Australian landscape and the attractions of Australia as a tourist destination. In short, it is a much-needed Australian ambassador in the form of a book but with the qualities of eloquence, self-confidence, conviction and persuasion of an outstanding human ambassador.

And like the ideal human ambassador, “Australia - Land o f Achievement" is multilingual. It is being published in the 4 main languages of our region: Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and English.

The text of "Australia - Land o f Achievement" includes contributions by the Prime Minister who wrote the Foreword and by each of the Premiers and Chief Ministers of the States and Territories who introduce the section dealing with his or her respective area.


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The balance of the text has been written by an outstanding group of well-known Australian writers, mainly business writers. The publication and production of the book have been with the support of an eminent advisory committee under the chairmanship of Sir Laurence and by a most impressive list of our leading companies. The book is published by Focus Publications, a specialist in corporate publications.

In celebrating Australia and its people, the book focuses upon many of the achievements of our fellow Australians, individually and collectively, during the 98 years of our nation. It consistently makes the point that, overall, our political, economic and social institutions and systems set international benchmarks. It highlights the importance of Australia as a prime business, commercial, investment and tourist destination with an important role to play in the growing global economy. Through words and pictures, it states and demonstrates how our country is blessed with great beauty, with outstanding natural facilities and with extraordinary natural resources.

Among all the concurrent themes which run through “Australia - Land o f Achievement there is one which seems to me to particularly stand out. It is summarised in a heading on page 137 - “Strength in Diversity”.

As Max Walsh points out in the introduction, “Australia has now become one of the most multi-racial and multicultural societies in the world”. The book emphasises the strength we have derived from our diversity in the context of our unity as a nation. As “Australia - Land o f Achievement makes plain, it is our multiculturalism, which enjoys support from all sides of mainstream politics, which has, through diversity and mutual tolerance and respect, enabled us to build a unique and successful post-war business and human environment which offers a bridge between Asia and the west. In that regard, it seems to me to be of great importance that we Australians project to the other countries of our region how strong our commitment is to racial and cultural tolerance and respect which sustain that multiculturalism. “Australia - Land o f Achievement, supported as it is by the Prime Minister, the Premiers and the Chief Ministers, will play a very important role in doing precisely that.

Let me conclude by offering my sincere congratulations to all associated with the preparation and publication of “Australia - Land o f Achievement. All those who have contributed to the text of the book. All those responsible for the many outstanding photographs which appear in it. All those who have guided the publication including, of course, Sir Laurence and the members of the Advisory Committee, Focus Publishing, its Chairman Steven Rich, the Publisher Jaqui Lane and the Managing Editor Clare Wallis. And all the other members of its staff. I particularly congratulate all those who have been actively involved in the actual printing and production of the book. And all who have directly or indirectly provided financial backing or support, including, of course, the sponsoring companies. Together, all those people and companies - and anyone whose contribution I have inadvertently overlooked - have produced a publication of which they and we can all be proud.

And now, with great pleasure, I officially launch “Australia - Land o f Achievement.