Happy Australia Day, everyone.

I am fiercely proud that on this day, we remember the pioneers, mostly British, who came from the other side of the world to a wondrous, yet challenging land. They built a prosperous and peaceable society from nothing, which is now the envy of the world. Could you?

This is the day to honour the spirit of a people who have an innate ability to punch above their weight. Who respect the idea of a fair go. Who cheer for the underdog.

Even though we’re the best nation on Earth, we can laugh at ourselves, and we’re happy to prick the egos of the self-important.

We are a people who will always come to the aid of a friend. We’ve laid it on the line to protect freedom and decency in the crucible of war, and we have paid with our dearest blood. We’ll welcome you in with open arms if you work hard, respect our values, speak our language, and value your Aussieness over all other national, cultural or religious identities.

Our patriotism rarely descends to jingoism, but is grounded by our laconic good sense and an effective (and distinctly Aussie) BS-filter.

Here’s a great thing about Australia: It doesn’t matter the colour of your skin, or your accent. We all came from somewhere. Some of us just came more recently than others. There are no “first Australians” and then the rest of us. There’s just…. All of us. Equal, without pretentiousness. If you pitch in, and respect the remarkable legacy of our young nation, then you’re a mate. Welcome!

This is our day. If you don’t feel like you’re a part of it, then it’s only because you haven’t accepted the invitation. This is not a day to wallow in recrimination, cast accusations, or judge our forebears by the different standards of today. No one is trying to exclude you, and no one says our nation, or any nation, is without faults. Just understand that this isn’t what Australia Day is about. You’re welcome to join us–  We’re looking forward, not back.

We’re a youthful, peaceful, democratic, pluralist, secular, lawful, compassionate, innovative and good-humoured country. That’s worth celebrating!

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