I am grateful for the establishment of the McKinnon Prize, and honoured to receive it.
These are testing times for democracy. Many Australians have lost faith in our institutions and their representatives.
Around the world democratic principles are being challenged. But it is democracy which enables the betterment of our community and the protection of rights.
So we must step forward to defend it, in principle and in action, at home and internationally.
We know that Australia is a strong, independent multicultural nation. It is one of our nation’s greatest strengths.
But too often, some have sought to use fear to stoke the flames of hate for their own political gain. We cannot allow anyone to be dehumanised. We cannot allow hate and intolerance to be normalised. We must expect better – and we must call out hate speech for what it is.
Hate speech is not the same as freedom of speech and we have seen in Christchurch the terrible consequences of where hatred can lead us.
I hope political leaders in Australia also recognise that unity is stronger than division and hope can triumph over fear.
All of us can advocate for these values, and demonstrate them in how we conduct our political debates.
This is the leadership we need in Australia, indeed in all nations, if we are to restore faith in our democratic institutions and their representatives.
Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.