Brilliant speech from the 2012 Australia Day National Broadcast
Yarralumla Woolshed, Canberra
26 January 2012
Could our Governor-General be any more gracious and fabulous?
Below is an extract from her speech - it's worth a read.
In October last year, I was delighted, as Patron, to launch the Australian Year of the Farmer 2012.
A year to celebrate the vital role farmers play in our lives.
To remind us that the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the wine we drink, our shoes, our office stationery, the timber in our houses and in our kitchen tables are all connected to farming. So many essentials of daily life are there for us, because of the efforts of our farmers.
Year of the Farmer will inform Australians about the advantages of working in agriculture -- about those quiet achievements of farmers that benefit all of us, and so many people overseas.
Farmers are the sentinels of our environment. They are the first to see changes in soils, water quality, bird life, and natural vegetation. They are also the first 'fixers'. Often, enviromental degradation is stopped in its tracks by farmers.
Collaboration between farmers and scientists has led to significant improvements for producers in other countries. It has helped them to grow food crops resistant to pests, drought and degraded water.
Our farmers are the life force of our nation. They export 60 per cent of everything they produce - key to our national economy. And they sustain valuable local economies and communities. I often observe that women farmers are the glue that holds these together.
We need more farmers.
Year of the Farmer 2012 will reach out to people in our cities to encourage them to move to the bush. There's a strong message for our young people - especially those contemplating life after high school at this time of the year. Think about a career in agriculture.
As a country woman at heart, I know there are many tangible advantages to rural life. Country people have much to teach us about caring for each other, about giving (even when there's not much to give), and about values and respect for other people and for our institutions.
These are qualities that we can lose sight of, as our daily lives become ever more packed with activity, and the distinction between work and home is blurred by technology.
Our sense of community can be blurred, too - it's sad that many people today do not know their neighbours. And yet, when disaster strikes, as it did last year in Queensland's floods and in the Victorian bushfires of 2009, we saw Australians put their lives on hold for others, and behave magnificently in the face of adversity.
I see that spirit of volunteerism, selflessness and respect again and again in country Australia.
People need each other to get things done - the building of a school hall, a retirement home, re-turfing the cricket pitch, setting up the local show. That's what community engagement is all about - it's a very precious thing.
This Australia Day, let's take time to reflect on our lucky country, and to give thanks to the farmers who work so hard to make that luck.
Speech extract via here