Australians will be looking forward to this Christmas; 2023 has been a year of hardships at home and adversity abroad.
Millions of Australians struggled to make ends meet with mounting financial pressures exacting a toll on people’s savings accounts and their spirits as well.
But despite the difficulties, Australians pressed on with characteristic resilience. The generosity and the efforts of our wonderful charity workers and volunteers epitomised the very best of our society.
We’re thinking of those families who lost loved ones in tragedies this year; such as the victims of the Gold Coast helicopter mid-air collision, the Hunter Valley wedding party bus crash, the Dugald River mine accident, the Taipan helicopter disaster, and the two police officers who were killed on duty.
This year we farewelled many great Australians.
Among them, we will miss the wit of Barry Humphries, the brightness of John Olsen’s canvases and the mind and the decency of soldier and Senator Jim Molan.
While Ukrainians continue to fight the tyranny of Russia, Israel was rocked by the barbarity of Hamas’ terrorism. The abhorrent displays of anti-Semitism on our own soil marked a low point in our nation’s history.
Christmas celebrates a historical fact: the birth of Jesus Christ. But whether we’re Christians or not, at Christmas we give thanks for the things that we hold dear in life: our family, our friends, our faith and our great fortune to be an Australian.
We also say thank you very sincerely to our police officers, our firefighters, our paramedics, our nurses, doctors, emergency service workers and defence force personnel who will not be resting over Christmas as they serve our nation and the greater good.
2023 has been tough, but we should never forget that we live in the best country in the world, and that’s because of the Australian people.
In tough times, let us not lose sight of the optimism, aspiration, the courage, the confidence, the camaraderie and the sense of duty which makes us tick as individuals and makes our nation truly remarkable.
I wish all Australians a happy, relaxing and safe Christmas in the company of family and friends.
25 December 2023
View the Opposition Leader’s video message here.