The following is text to the speech, Ungrateful Australia, which I gave at the 2012 Western Heights College awards night. Note that this speech was given in the week that the world was "going to end".
May I first congratulate all of the award winners tonight on their fantastic achievements, with particular mention to our incoming school captains and our dux on his phenomenal ATAR score.
Ladies and gentleman. As I’m sure you know, the world will come to an abrupt and devastating end this Friday. But who is responsible for the demise of our planet?!
The Liberals would tell you that the end of the world is the result of a failing government, another Labor mishap caused by years of infighting in the party! But don’t worry if you’re a Labor voter, they will be quick on the reply, assuring Australians that this is just the remnants of the previous Liberal government!
Is this where Australia’s going? Are we at a point where we’ve become so pessimistic, that we would blame our government for the end of the world? When did we stop being optimistic?
Now, clearly, the world isn’t ending on Friday. What is coming to an end, however, is the grateful Australia.
Each day, Australians are bombarded with negative media. We read and watch reports of a “dying economy that can no longer support its people”, “a cabinet of ministers who should all leave their positions”, “healthcare reform that will endanger the lives of every Australian”. You could be forgiven for thinking that our country is on the brink of disaster.
But despite the media and government’s image of an Australia where people are dying on the streets, nobody has money to feed their families and where watching Big Brother is actually a highly stimulating activity...we actually have it pretty good.
We have one of the most stable economies and banking systems in the world, with low unemployment and sustainable inflation.
We have one of the best health care systems in the world. Unlike in most Western nations, the biggest concern upon entering a doctor’s surgery is the illness that led them there, rather than the bill they’re going to receive on the way out. The majority of us live happy and healthy lives thanks to extensive funding from the government and the freedom to belong to either the public or private system.
We have one of the best education systems in the world! We live in a country where each and every child has the right to learn and to do so without cost. The catholic, private and government sectors all deliver unparalleled curricula...though public is the best of course.
I’m not saying that we live in a perfect country, nor am I saying that we should turn a blind eye to those imperfections.
We’ve got it great here, and we should be thankful for that. All this rubbish in the media about the destruction of our nation, is just that, rubbish.
Don’t start the day with death and despair in the newspaper or with Gillard’s beautiful voice on the radio, as she tears through Abbott for the 400th time that morning… start the day with some gratitude. Gratitude for waking up in the morning, free of war and poverty, with the right to say or feel what you like...gratitude for waking up in Australia.