Prime Minister Scott Morrison has released a Christmas message today for all Australians. He said:
“Merry Christmas, Australia.
“This year more than most, we are reminded of what we are truly thankful for. Each other.
“There are six families in Devonport in northern Tasmania, from the Hillcrest Primary School this Christmas, who are completely devastated and our thoughts are with them. Everything they cherished in life was taken from them in a terrible instant. It’s unimaginable, and so our hearts break for them. And this Christmas we’ll shed a tear and raise up prayers for them, I believe right across the country, for them that they might find some measure of comfort in this hour of their terrible grief.
“As they grieve, many Australians will be gathering together for the first time this Christmas in a long time, but sadly not all. Others will be on their own, still. Others are always on their own at this time of year, and it’s a very lonely time. Others will be missing a loved one for the first time, who is no longer around the Christmas table. We’re thinking of you also.
“This pandemic, it continues to buffet us, the Omicron variant is just the latest challenge that we have faced. But together, always together and only together, do we keep pushing through.
“At the end of this year, of course, we can think of the many difficult times we’ve had and the losses that people have incurred. But Christmas, you know, is a time of hope and we are an optimistic people. And whatever comes our way, we back ourselves to overcome and to push through, as we have during the course of this pandemic, saving lives and livelihoods like few other countries in the world.
“That is our quiet confidence as Australians, driven by the love we have for those around us and the way of life that we value so much and enjoy here in Australia, that we’re able to lead and aspire to in our wonderful country.
“I’m so grateful for Australia. To be an Australian. And for my fellow Australians.
“I could want for no greater gift than the spirit of the Australian people that’s been on display, that have inspired and endured and cared and shown great courage.
“Even now, so many selfless Australians are out there caring for others this Christmas, working and volunteering to keep Australians safe and showing their fellow Australians that they matter, that they are valued and that they are cared for.
“They are driving trucks, delivering critical supplies, they’re giving us our booster shots and doing our COVID tests. They’re working in emergency departments, they’re volunteering in homeless shelters. They’re standing ready to respond to the many natural disasters that sadly we so often face this time of year and fires and floods and terrible storms that we’ve only recently just experienced. They’re patrolling our beaches. They’re serving overseas in our national interest.
“And I particularly want to acknowledge our Australian Federal Police and the Australian Defence Forces, who are on deployment in the Solomon Islands right now and the many others serving in so many other parts of the world. I want to say thank you to all of those selfless Australians. May God especially bless you and your families this Christmas, especially if you’re apart.
“May all those who need a refreshing after what has been a difficult year, by just having a good long laugh out loud, round that Christmas table with friends and family, may you find it. May those who have been alone this year experience the warmth of companionship this Christmas.
“May those of us who have faith find great encouragement as we reflect on God’s great gift to us and his son, Jesus Christ. And may all of us experience something of the joy and the wonder of Christmas, especially our children. Jen and I wish you from our family to yours, a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2022. Merry Christmas Australia and God Bless.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, also released a somewhat shorter message. Albo said:
“After such a tough couple of years, we all deserve a happy Christmas.
“Thanks to everyone for taking care of each other. Australians have stood together, and now with our borders opening up again we’re getting back together – off the zoom and actually back in the room with family, friends and loved ones.
“May the festive season bring you joy, and may it be a sign of better times to come.”
The Guardian Australia has compiled the two speeches. You can watch them below: