Premier Mike Baird has again put his oratory skills to good use, calling for Australians to embrace our history of helping and supporting refugees to welcome a new wave of opportunity to Australia. In a controversial Australia Day speech on Friday, Mike Baird kicked Australians for trying to ignore the fact that a lot of our country’s success is due to migrants, and warned of the danger of anti-immigration stances that are starting to be seen here and in other countries worldwide. His popular appeal may have the message heard widely but is it a stance that many Australians are happy about given terror fears that have been rippling the world?
In his speech, Baird drew on a poignant example of migrant, Deng Thiak Adut, a former Sudanese child soldier who emigrated and has grown to become a refugee lawyer who serves his community and helps them.
“Deng is what happens when generosity meets opportunity.
“We are one of he most successful and multicultural nations in the world,” Mr Baird said.
“But I believe we are potentially at risk of losing what makes Australia the best place in the world to live, because some want to shut our doors and avert their eyes.”
“What an amazing country we are part of,” he said.
“Because we welcomed Deng, we sheltered him, we gave him clothes, food and a chance to learn, and he seized that opportunity, and now he is working in his community giving back to those who, like him, once had no voice.”
“To shut our doors to refugees, as many here and around the world are calling for, is to deny our history, to deny our character,” said the NSW Premier.
“My genuine and honest fear is what will happen to Australia if shut people such as Deng out, whether it be out of fear or ignorance.”
The Premier said to his waiting audience that Australia must face threats and arm its security forces to protect the borders appropriately.
“But we must not lose sight of who we are that makes us so great”
“I say we have a choice: We can continue on the path that brought this nation to where we are today, or we can let fear blind us and fear infect us.
“To shut our doors to refugees, as many here and around the world are calling for, is to deny our history, to deny our character.
“In a quest for personal comfort let us not sacrifice who we are above all, which is welcoming, compassionate and inclusive.”