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An Australia Day message from the Moderator

During much of my time at Primary School I participated each Monday morning in a ceremony that involved the raising of the Australian Flag and the repetition, with corresponding gestures, of the words:

I am an Australian
I love my country
I salute her flag
I honour her Queen
I promise to cheerfully obey her laws

I was proud to be an Australian then, and I still am. Those were the years when hundreds of thousands of new citizens were arriving here to make Australia their home. Those were the years when we moved out of the hardships of the Depression and World War II and into a period of increasing prosperity. Those were the years when there was virtually no unemployment and home ownership increased dramatically.

Nonetheless, there were serious issues for our nation to address, not least the rightful place of women in our every area of our society and the appalling injustices to which indigenous people were subjected.

Fifty years on, in the early stages of the 21st Century, we face enormous challenges. Momentous advances in science and technology do not protect us from the fact that we are polluting and destroying our environment at an ever increasing rate. We are all aware of the current crisis in relation to the provision of water across much of our country, not least in our rapidly expanding cities. Most Australians are better off than ever before, yet 15% of our population lives in poverty. We are a multicultural nation, yet racial and sectarian prejudice still divides us.

As Christians, we are called to bear witness, in the midst of all these situations and challenges, to the God who entrusted the creation to our careful and grateful stewardship and who made us one human family in which we are to demonstrate love, respect, forgiveness and mutual commitment in all our relationships.

I will celebrate Australia Day, not with unthinking patriotic fervour, but with a deep sense of gratitude for all that this nation has meant to me and my family, and with an unwavering commitment to go on living the vision and values of the Gospel, without which our nation is lost! I invite you to do the same.