In his speech delivered days before the Australia Day, ACT’s 2016 Australian Day Ambassador David Pocock calls to renew commitment to make Australia a great nation.
“Australia Day is also a day to reflect on how we have dealt with and continue to deal with the tragedies of our past, and to reflect on the fact that the opportunities many of us enjoy are not available to all in Australia.”
Pocock, an athlete, was born in Zimbabwe. His family only moved to Australia when he was 14 years old.
“Australia is a remarkably diverse land with an equally diverse people, and moving to Australia has offered me and my family a great many opportunities which would not have been possible were it not for the many things that make Australia such a great nation.”
Every January 26, Australians celebrate the ‘Australia Day’ to commemorate the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip’s first fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain.
“The raising of the Union Jack there symbolized British occupation of the eastern half of the continent claimed by Captain James Cook on the 22th of August in 1770,” according to the essay “Celebrating Australia: A History of Australia Day” by Dr. Elizabeth Kwan.
Sydney immigrants, including the convicts and their children, mark the colony’s beginnings. Pocock recognizes this dark part of Australian history.
“We also acknowledge that for Australia’s First Nations Peoples it is a very difficult day, commemorating the arrival of the British and some truly terrible parts of our history.”
However, Pocock hopes that the intentions to support an egalitarian community in Australia continue. “So this Australia Day, let’s celebrate what is great about Australia, reflect on our shortcomings, and renew our commitment to continuing to make Australia a great nation – so that everyone, from our First Peoples to our most recent arrivals (eve those that arrive by boat) can live in a truly lucky country.”