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2002 Christmas Messages: Howard, Crean And Hollingworth

Prime Minister John Howard’s Christmas Message

HowardDec 24 – Christmas is a time for all of us to be thankful that we live in Australia with all that it has to offer. It is a time of hope and, for many, spiritual renewal.

Our thoughts go out, especially, to the families of the young and innocent who perished at the hand of evil in Bali. We feel for the citizens of other nations who have shared our loss and hope that memories of earlier times will help to sustain them all through their grief.

Equally, we celebrate the courage exhibited by the survivors and recognise the efforts of emergency personnel.

As the Year of the Outback comes to a close, that celebrated pioneering spirit of resilience and stoicism in the face of adversity is being tested by the ravages of drought and fire. I hope that our farmers and rural and regional communities draw strength from the concern and practical help of their fellow Australians.

We enjoy at this time the company of those closest to us and feel particularly the distance that separates us from loved ones far away.

At Christmas we remember all who have fought for Australia’s sake in different theatres of war and we pay tribute to our Defence Force personnel on service in many parts of the world.

As our nation looks back upon the events of a tumultuous year, and forward to the next, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the principles of justice, peace and security upon which our nation was founded.

Opposition Leader Simon Crean’s Christmas Message

CreanDec 23 – Last Christmas I wished all Australians a happy, prosperous and safe time, and a brighter, more hopeful and rewarding 2002.

Sadly, the horrific events in Bali meant this was not to be.

Instead, 2002 will be forever seared in our memory as the year when our nation was confronted with unimaginable evil and sorrow.

All of us feel the loss of so many of our fellow Australians, but none more so than their families, who this Christmas, will be feeling the loss of their loved ones as families and friends gather together.

So this Christmas, my thoughts are foremost with them, and I ask all Australians to pause for a moment as their families come together to share in the joy and celebration of the Christmas spirit, to remember those whose family reunions will never again be complete.

The first Christmas in which loved ones are missing is the hardest. There will be many grief-stricken families and our hearts go out to them.

We must also remember the many families struggling as a result of what is perhaps the worst drought this nation has seen in a century.

As we talk about the need to celebrate, they can really only celebrate when the rains come.

Our nation has always been strongest in time of adversity, whether it be a natural disaster like drought, or the evil that was committed in Bali, and the hope and generosity at the heart of our nation can never be eradicated.

Christmas will remain for all of us a time to celebrate, and share the joy we feel when family and friends come together.

It is also a time for forgiveness, generosity, compassion and tolerance and I urge all Australians to vow to take this Christmas spirit into the New Year and beyond for the good of our nation.

In this spirit, I ask Australians to remember those less fortunate by donating time or money to charities that help provide joy and comfort to the old and the homeless and the lonely.

And finally, Christmas is about peace.

I firmly believe peace is possible and pray that men and women of good faith will continue to do all they can to ensure our nation does not begin 2003 with an agonising choice about whether or not we need to join yet another war.

I wish all Australians a happy Christmas and a truly peaceful new year.

Governor-General Peter Hollingworth’s Christmas Message

HollingworthDec 24 – Even more than most years, Christmas 2002 is a time to remind ourselves that through its response to crisis, Australia proves itself strong. That strength, which guides us in everything we do, has always come from two, deeply interwoven Australian characteristics: courage; and caring.

The Bali attack changed the lives of innocent people forever. Many of the families who have lost loved ones are still inconsolable and their sense of loss has been shared by a whole nation.

But Australians’ response to this crisis, on both a professional and a personal level, has shown how we can be empowered by the act of doing good for others and by playing active roles in our communities.

Courage and caring has also been the hallmark of our response this year to the worst drought in living memory and to bushfires.

Part of our strength in meeting these challenges is our capacity, as a multicultural nation, to live together as people from different backgrounds, cultures and faiths, sharing both our commitment to Australia and the experience of our common humanity.

Ann and I wish you all a safe and restful Christmas. Mindful of the uncertainty of the times, we join fellow Australians in praying for greater peace, harmony and equality between the peoples of the world.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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