Celebrate being one and free - MP Templeman’s Australia Day message
Macquarie MP Susan Templeman has been helping hand out citizenship confirmations this morning to new Hawkesbury residents at Hawkesbury Council's awards ceremony. The MP has also put out an Australia Day message you can read below and which asks us a to reflect on our complex past, our present and our future.
“Over summer, I’ve had time to read historian Grace Karskens’ landmark new book, People of the River, which looks at the lives of people in the Hawkesbury-Nepean River region, before and after European settlement,” Ms Templeman said.
“What it tells us from the evidence collected and recorded by a myriad of curious people is the fascinating story of a land that has been cultivated and cared for by people for tens of thousands of years. It tells the history of the interactions between people and cultures, positive and deadly. It reveals much about the Hawkesbury-Nepean and the Blue Mountains, things I wish I’d grown up knowing.
“We live on a continent which is shared by descendants of the oldest surviving civilisation in the world and those who have come more recently to make it their home. This is a source of pride for all Australians both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
“And the day we mark as Australia Day provides us with opportunities to recognise and reflect on our complex past, our present and our future.
“I believe reflection doesn’t diminish our celebration of being Australian, but shows the maturity we have as a nation, and at every Australia Day event I have been part of as an MP, I have seen respect paid to our past and hope for our future.
“The recent change of words to our national anthem is both welcome and a long time coming. Our anthem has to be truthful about the whole story of this great country.
“Changing the words to “one and free” is a small step towards recognising the long history of First Nations people and reminds us of the ongoing need to be truthful about our country.
“Australia Day this year will of course be different for many people due to COVID restrictions, but it has to be an inclusive day, celebrating everyone’s story and everyone’s place, from its founding First Nations cultures to its historic ties with Britain and our many proud multicultural communities.
“To those who will become Australian citizens on January 26, I say welcome to our diverse nation.
“Over the years, I have lived in several countries myself – Mexico, the US and England - but I could never begin to imagine making the decision to move to another country permanently, and to cement that move by becoming a citizen. It’s a big step, and those who are brave enough to take it are bringing new perspectives to this ancient place.
“Our newest citizens have, no doubt, in the years they have waited to become citizens, already made a valuable contribution to our community in some way.
“You might already know them as a fellow parent at school, or a workmate or a neighbour. By becoming a citizen, these locals have furthered their commitment to our wonderful country and our local community.
“Together let’s reflect, respect and celebrate being one and free.”
MP Susan Templeman welcomes new Aussies with help from local Girl Guides at the 2020 Hawkesbury City Council citizenship ceremony.