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Flag raising ceremony on Australia Day in the National Capital, Canberra, Tuesday, 26 January 1999: address on the occasion.



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ADDRESS BY SIR WILLIAM DEANE

 

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

ON THE OCCASION OF THE FLAG RAISING CEREMONY ON

 

AUSTRALIA DAY IN THE NATIONAL CAPITAL

 

CANBERRA

 

TUESDAY, 26 JANUARY 1999

 

It is appropriate that the focal point of the ce lebrations of Australia Day in the National Capital should be this flag raising ceremony.

 

For centuries flags have been acknowledged as symbols of people, of states and of those who lead them. In olden days the monarch's personal standard was flown at gatherings to show that he or she was actually present in person. That tradition that has continued into modern times. So that today, when we raise our national flag, we can truly say: here we are, here we stand as Australians, with our hopes, our achievements, our national qualities, our history and our aspirations for all to see.

 

It is 98 years since the people of this country federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. Since then, we have accomplished much. We have been steadfast in our commitment to a free and democratic society, to our support for human rights, to international peace, to true equality and to the notion of a "fair go" for all Australians.

 

In that time, our population has grown from less than four million to over 18 million people. Directly or indirectly, we come from all the regions, races, cultures and religions of the world. And perhaps our greatest achievement has been the multiculturalism that -especially over the past half century - has enabled that diversity of origins, beliefs and backgrounds to be a source of strength and not division among our people.

 

As we raise the flag on this Australia Day in the National Capital, and welcome those who have just become Australian citizens, let us recommit ourselves to the concepts of liberty, of toleration, of true equality and of the peaceful enjoyment of our common wealth. These things not only sustain our nation. Truly, they symbolise what we are.

 

 

 

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