I will never forget the past.
I will never disregard the history of those who have suffered the unimaginable.
I will never turn a blind eye and pretend an invasion of the worst kind didn’t happen.
But I was born here, on these soils, too.
I am Australian, too.
And I am damn proud to call myself that, and will not be afraid, or ashamed, to celebrate that today; to be thankful for this land of opportunity, of freedom, of huge skies and vast oceans.
To know my children are held safe and not having to fight just to survive in a war-torn or poverty-stricken climate but can run barefoot on warm sand and swim and laugh and play with sun on their backs and salt on their skin.
To be thankful for everything this country is, and everything it offers.
This doesn’t mean I am trying to erase history, or act like it didn’t matter.
It did matter.
It does matter.
It will always matter.
But I cannot change history either.
I can only move forward.
We can only move forward.
Acknowledging the past.
Healing the past.
Reconciling the past.
But no longer allowing the past to divide us.
May we find the way forward, as one.