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Address to the Auburn City Council Iftar, Lidcombe



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Address to the Auburn City Council Iftar, Lidcombe August 06, 2013

E&OE……………………….……………………………………………………………

Well the truth is, Ned, Mayor Ned, the truth is that Craig is my very close friend. He is my very dear colleague, but he did not have to twist my arm to bring me here - I am absolutely delighted - at this marvellous celebration of faith and culture in a proudly

diverse and multicultural nation. Grand Mufti, distinguished Sheikhs, council colleagues, State Parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, but particularly my federal parliamentary colleagues, Minister Jason Clare, local member John Murphy, father of

the house Philip Ruddock, I suspect there might be a few people in this room who received their Australian citizenship from Philip Ruddock and what a good job you did, Philip, in that particular role, and because an election is upon us I should also

acknowledge Candidate Craig Laundy, Candidate Martin Zaiter and Candidate Anthony Khouri, may everyone who seeks to serve our nation in our public life be blessed at this time.

It is good to be here amongst you as so many of you approach the end of a month of fasting. And, to everyone who has been

fasting over the month of Ramadan, I pay tribute to your zeal - a zeal I have to say is, these days, rarely emulated amongst members of my own tradition, but I salute you for your dedication, for your faith and for your love of god.

And I acknowledge the fact that Australia is a ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse society, and yet there is unity in our

diversity - the unity that comes from the mutual respect that we all have for each other. I regret to say that it wasn’t always that way. There was a time, yes - in this country of ours, when the majority were suspicious of the minority. And the minority’s

religious leaders were regarded with suspicion - were subject to restrictions and even occasionally deportation and yet eventually common sense prevailed and the then protestant establishment decided that Catholics weren’t too bad, and the things that united

us were more important than anything that divided us.

So much so, that in the 1880’s Cardinal Moran could say that nowhere on earth can Irish Catholics receive such justice than under the crown here in Australia. I want to say that those times have lessons for these times. And I want to say to you that I am

the sworn enemy, the sworn enemy of anyone who seeks to divide Australian from Australian over things that cant readily be changed. Over class, over gender, over birth place and particularly over faith. Our faith is special to us. And we have to respect

the specialness of every person’s faith to that person. I believe that a good god smiles on all who sincerely seek the truth. I believe that religious faiths, all religious faiths seek to come to grips with the complexity of the human condition. They help us, all

of them help us, to come closer to being our best selves and to love and to care for others as we all know in our hearts we should. I believe in the fundamental unity of mankind, I believe that the things that unite us truly are more important than anything that

divides us. This must be so if the world is to prosper, if the world is to progress. And the great thing about our country, my friends, is that Australia in so many things, but particularly in this multiculturalism is a beacon of hope to a troubled and divided world.

People from all around the four corners of this earth have come to this country of ours to join our team, to be welcomed by us and

to build a better life in freedom for themselves and for their children. This lends a heroic dimension to our national story - long may it be the case.

So I am proud to address you, my fellow Australians tonight. Some Christian, most Muslim some of little perhaps, troubled faith

about the common challenges that we face here in Western Sydney. I want to say to you that all of us want to build a stronger economy. Some of us have different views about how a stronger economy can be built. My own view is that the best way to build

the stronger economy that will give us the jobs and the prosperity that we all want is to get taxes down, to get regulations down, so that businesses can grow - can employ and investment can go ahead. Some of us have different ideas about what the right

infrastructure is and how it should be funded but I want to tell you that to me, proper infrastructure for Western Sydney is the muscle and sinew of a healthy economy and that’s why I am so committed to working with the State Government to ensure that

the WestConnex project goes ahead as quickly as is humanly possible.

We all want a stronger and more cohesive society and part of that is building - the better schools and the better public hospitals that all of us need and which serve all of us. Again, some of us have different ideas as to how that is best done, but I believe its

best done by giving the community a greater say - allowing people greater freedom to open the schools that suit them, to attend the hospitals that suit them and that’s the kind of thing that I hope to bring about in my own public life.

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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But above all else, I wish us to be stronger citizens and the beauty of a night like this, is that it is celebration of modern Australia. It is a celebration of the breadth, the depth, the diversity and the cultural richness of our great country. We are all on a journey

together. We’ve all come a long way. But I want to say to all of you that I passionately believe that our greatest days are ahead of us. Our greatest days are ahead of us and I dedicate myself to your service and to the strengths of our country.

[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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