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Australia Day address to the nation



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J&x

PRiHE' MINISTER

FOR PRESS 28 JANUARY 1979

AUSTRALIA DAY ADDRESS TO THE NATION

Tomorrow we celebrate. Australia Day — our national day. For most of us, it is a great opportunity to spend a day with our families and friends, on the beach, at home, or maybe working in the garden. . . .

But wherever we are, Australia Day gives us all an opportunity to think about our country. — to reflect on the past, and to look to the challenges of the future. .

Australians have a record of great achievement. Our early settlers built a nation on a harsh continent. The courage, tenacity, independence and enterprise of those early Australians — their eagerness to "give it a go", their readiness to give a bloke

a hand when he was down — have become part of the Australian way of life.

These qualities have been the force behind Australia's development and prosperity. A development and prosperity that has been forged by. people from many countries. .

All of us, even Prime Ministers, face day-to-day problems, whether they be mortgage payments, household bills, or any of the other hassles which sometimes make us forget that we have in Australia people with great technical skills who can

do new things; good farming land; great mineral reserves; abundant energy. . .

Compared with many countries we are indeed fortunate. We are free of many of the problems which beset countries around the world — chronic poverty, sickness and hunger, racial conflict and war.

But we can't just sit back and take it all for granted. We've got responsibilities to our children to make Australia a better place for them to live in. .

Like many other developed countries we are faced with inflation and unemployment. But with the resources we have, with . Australian drive and initiative, we will overcome them.

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We have made real progress. Australia's success is recognised here and overseas. People are now looking ahead with more confidence, with more optimism.

Sometimes people say that we are too concerned with inflation, but it is because we are concerned with people that fighting inflation is important.

Let's take the example of the motor industry. If there is inflation, if wages and other costs are continually going up, prices of motor cars will also have to rise. That means less Australian cars will be sold. They will be pushed out of

export markets. As fewer cars are sold, there is less work for Australians, there are fewer jobs, for Australians. .

On the other hand, if costs are stable, wages are steady, prices will also be steady and more Australian cars will be sold. Australian firms will do better against competitors, whose inflation might be higher, whose costs might be rising more . quickly. And that means more jobs for Australians.

That is what fighting inflation is all about. It is about jobs.

Some nations are often regarded as important because of their power; because of victories in war; because of the cities they have built; because of their influence on world affairs, in trade and commerce.

Without discounting the importance of some of these things, I much prefer to measure the greatness of the country by the quality of its people; by their character, their pride and enterprise; by the concern people show for those less fortunate.

By these standards, Australia is a truly great nation. Is is people that are the strength of Australia. Men and women who have built Australia and will lead us into the 1980's and beyond. .

Australia is not something remote. Australia is not just an idea. It is the 14 million people that make up this nation. Every action by every one of us is part of Australia. Whatever we do adds, or detracts from Australia. When we are at work,

or at play, we are a part of Australia.

To me, Australia's greatness springs from its people. From you, your families, and what you do. From your willingness to "give it a go" for Australia. And that is why I have unbounded confidence in this nation. .

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