Federation celebrations are underway today in Sydney.
At Centennial Park, the scene of the Federation Proclamation in 1901, all State Premiers and Governors have joined with the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and Governor-General to sign a commemorative document and unveil plaques.
The Governor-General, Sir William Deane, addressed the gathering and read a message from Australia’s Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
Deane used the opportunity to again press the cause of reconciliation with Australia’s indigenous population. He referred to the provisions in the 1901 Constitution which denied citizenship and basic human rights to Aborigines, and called for 2001 to be a year of continuing efforts to promote reconciliation.
Victoria’s Premier, Steve Bracks, was accompanied by Governor John Landy, who was sworn into office this morning, succeeding Sir James Gobbo.
A Federation parade will commence later this afternoon.
- Listen to Deane’s speech (6m)
- Read Sir William Deane’s Speech
- Read John Howard’s Centenary of Federation message