Australia

Australia Day a time for unity, amid challenging times: Scott Morrison

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for unity in the face of bushfires, drought and floods on Australia Day.

Scott Morrison has made a rallying call in an effort to unite all sectors of the community for Australia Day.

The prime minister released a four-minute video message on Sunday acknowledging the challenges, but championing the benefits, of living Down Under.

"Whether our families came here tens of thousands of years ago, generations ago as mine did on the First Fleet or those who are taking citizenship for the first time today, we're all together as one and we can all together be proud."

Mr Morrison, who will spend Sunday in Canberra, overnight named Adelaide eye surgeon James Muecke as Australian of the Year.

2020 Australian of the Year winner Dr James Muecke, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2020 Senior Australian of the Year winner Professor John Newnham.
2020 Australian of the Year winner Dr James Muecke, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2020 Senior Australian of the Year winner Professor John Newnham.
AAP

The prime minister said Australians have had a tough start to 2020, battling bushfires, drought and flood.

But in the face of adversity, Australians adapt and thrive, he added.

"We are a free, diverse and accepting people," Mr Morrison said.

"Our way is to see the humanity of others regardless of their ethnicity or disability or age, religion, gender, all these things. We accept and embrace people for who they are.

"We are a people, as Australians, who prevail not through luck or chance or good fortune but by the efforts and intellect and willingness and determination to stand one with each other."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gets emotional after speaking about his father at a 2019 Australian of the Year finalist morning tea at The Lodge on Saturday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison gets emotional after speaking about his father at a 2019 Australian of the Year finalist morning tea at The Lodge on Saturday.
AAP

Mr Morrison said Australians should use 26 January to "rededicate" themselves to "this great land".

"That's what we celebrate this Australia Day: families, friends, communities ancient and modern who stand by each other and have so selflessly served each other particularly during these recent times of great crisis."

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