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A Message from Australia Day Victoria Chair

Sowing the Seeds of Harmony on Australia Day

by Australia Day Victoria Committee Chair, Stefan Romaniw

Five ladies in their national costume holding a large Australia Flag between them, while walking in the Aust Day Parade 2015On Australia Day, we are encouraged to celebrate; to spend the day doing the things we enjoy with the people we love, our friends, our family or even on our own. Some may decide to work in the garden. Some will participate in organised events throughout our Garden State, while others will travel to beaches, the bush or perhaps stay at home and enjoy a barbeque.

Others may just take time out and do the things that give them pleasure and relaxation.

But whatever you do, be sure to take a moment to stop, ponder and be grateful for what we have and to those who got us here, who provide support and care for us.

Now back to gardening . . .

A well maintained, planned and colourful garden gives the gardener and those who see it or visit it great satisfaction.

An array of colourful flowers, shrubs, or a vegetable patch is beautiful. And they must be maintained and nurtured.

We must remain vigilant about the elements and the weeds and other growth that can overrun it and spoil it. That’s why we educate ourselves about gardening – to prevent problems and quickly rectify issues.

Today we can equate our life as a community in a similar way.

We are many, we are different. We sometimes require attention and have needs and that’s when we combine our best characteristics to work collectively for the common good.

It leads to a strong, harmonious and safe society.

Today our garden is being increasingly challenged. Things are happening at home and overseas of which we need to be aware. It is no good to stay blinkered to them.

Those weeds that can sometimes overgrow your garden, making it unsightly and less attractive, cause disharmony – like in life itself.

Australia’s garden, while it has strong foundations and has been fertilised through education and carefully nurtured, can do one of two things:  grow into a confused, ugly  state, or eradicate the ugliness to ensure our safe and harmonious lifestyle is not undermined.

Yes, we have strong policies relating to diversity – not only cultural, on how we deal with difference and how we build on our strengths, but we should never be complacent, nor take too much for granted.

The welding and meshing of all us Australians is based on a common system of values which makes our nation.

Ongoing education and ensuring that we all have a clear understanding of the commitment to ourselves, our families, our workplaces and the wider community will help guarantee that our garden continues to be beautiful.

Taking responsibility for “‘my patch”; my part of the garden, is critical and should not be underestimated no matter how large or small.

My civic responsibilities and what they entail if I am a student, young adult, or part of the work force, a parent or whatever, need focus and a personal commitment  from me that I – that we want the garden to grow and bloom.

Yes, I am committed to making Australia the place to be, to tackling the weeds which may include addiction, terrorism, domestic violence, lack of respect  for others and their property – and to working with others  in “my patch” to ensure lifestyle, opportunities and a positive outlook are the branches that hang of my tree.

We plant seedlings and we see them grow. At times we replant, reposition for the good of their growth. We protect them for some time and at a point expect the roots to be strong enough for them to stand alone.

But we still occasionally top up and fertilise.

Our children, our youth are not much different. We assist them, try to instil the correct value system, we take responsible for them and then once the foundations are in place, the roots, we hope to stand back and see them grow.

If we instil an agreed set of values, including respect, integrity, support, the notion of a fair go, care, understanding and tolerance and apply them at home, at school, at sports clubs, in places of recreation and worship, then with a sense of giving, volunteering and contributing , they should able to  stand up and grow.

Building a better, strong, safer and more responsive Australia takes the same. Without the hard yakka, the hard yards and the commitment from many, it just won’t happen.

I, we, us, who aspire to make our  home – Australia, warts and all – a better place can see that it happens.

So as you go back into the garden or walk through a park on Australia Day, or any day for that matter, take a minute to smell the roses and ask what have I done so far, and what can I do from here on to make my patch of our Australia a safer, more prosperous and caring place.

So celebrate and enjoy Australia Day and consider making an Australia Day resolution that you will tend to your garden – and the community around you.