"Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free."
This, the first line of our nation's anthem sums up what I believe to be truly Australian, and shows what bonds our society and defines Australia.
Today I welcome you to Australia, a country that is young - at heart and in age, and free - free from the turmoil and struggles of many other countries in the world. Our youth as a nation and in attitude, and the freedom we hold so dear, are the most valued characteristics of our Australian identity.
In the relatively short history of this nation, Australia has displayed a will to set its own course, develop its own traditions and morality, breaking free of the shackles of its humble convict beginnings. This self-determination, which eventually saw our convict forefathers become free men and the establishment working alongside them to build a nation, is the foundation stone of our culture.
A culture of mate-ship and loyalty, equality and trust, that has enabled the freedom of thought, speech and self that we enjoy today - freedom that many countries throughout the world are still fighting for.
The road to this freedom was not conflict-free, Australians have had the courage to stand up for what they believe in through the passage of time - both in this country and overseas. This belief in the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the right to free education and political views has been ingrained in our culture. There are landmarks throughout our history where our passion for freedom and fairness has changed the direction of our nation and made it what it is today.
During the mid 1850's people flocked to Australia to fossick for gold on the goldfields of Victoria, NSW and Queensland. As more opportunists...