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Christmas 2002



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

MESSAGE FROM THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON SIMON CREAN MP

CHRISTMAS 2002

Last Christmas I wished all Australians a happy, prosperous and safe time, and a brighter, more hopeful and rewarding 2002.

Sadly, the horrific events in Bali meant this was not to be.

Instead, 2002 will be forever seared in our memory as the year when our nation was confronted with unimaginable evil and sorrow.

All of us feel the loss of so many of our fellow Australians, but none more so than their families, who this Christmas, will be feeling the loss of their loved ones as families and friends gather together.

So this Christmas, my thoughts are foremost with them, and I ask all Australians to pause for a moment as their families come together to share in the joy and celebration of the Christmas spirit, to remember those whose family reunions will never again be complete.

The first Christmas in which loved ones are missing is the hardest. There will be many grief-stricken families and our hearts go out to them.

We must also remember the many families struggling as a result of what is perhaps the worst drought this nation has seen in a century.

As we talk about the need to celebrate, they can really only celebrate when the rains come.

Our nation has always been strongest in time of adversity, whether it be a natural disaster like drought, or the evil that was committed in Bali, and the hope and generosity at the heart of our nation can never be eradicated.

Christmas will remain for all of us a time to celebrate, and share the joy we feel when family and friends come together.

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It is also a time for forgiveness, generosity, compassion and tolerance and I urge all Australians to vow to take this Christmas spirit into the New Year and beyond for the good of our nation.

In this spirit, I ask Australians to remember those less fortunate by donating time or money to charities that help provide joy and comfort to the old and the homeless and the lonely.

And finally, Christmas is about peace.

I firmly believe peace is possible and pray that men and women of good faith will continue to do all they can to ensure our nation does not begin 2003 with an agonising choice about whether or not we need to join yet another war.

I wish all Australians a happy Christmas and a truly peaceful new year.

CANBERRA 23 DECEMBER 2002