As we approach Remembrance Day next Tuesday 11th November we can once again expect record numbers of young people turning out to services around the country to commemorate those that have gone before us and paid the ultimate price for our nation. Australian soldiers gave their lives in the hope that we could continue to live with the foundations, heritage, values, culture and freedoms that make this nation great. These are what have underpinned our peace, our prosperity and set us apart as the ‘Lucky Country’.
The spirit of sacrifice has captured the attention of a new generation who is connecting with the enduring values our service men and women lived by. There are some very important principals which exist to maintain these foundations.
The greatest characteristic of a democratic society is freedom. The ability to make your own choice on who to vote for and what you believe about life, religion, politics or any other subject. This might seem standard, but there are places in the world where choice has been removed and people are told who to vote for and what to believe. Freedom is something that should never be taken for granted. It has been hard fought for, and when won, needs to be vigilantly protected.
Along with the right to free choice is the right to free speech. People have the ability to express what they believe and why. Free speech can be messy, there will be conflicts, but this freedom must be upheld over the ideal for everyone to agree. This is why public discourse and debate is so important. It gives the public the chance to hear the voice of a variety of viewpoints and the arguments and logic behind each one. The problem occurs when public debate is stifled and only a select few viewpoints are given a voice. People disengage and there is a growing divide between every day Australians and the elitists whose viewpoints are difficult to connect with. For example, if you have listened to commentators, academics and elitists over the past few weeks you would have heard that we are culturally insensitive if we are patriotic, that our national flag is a symbol of racism and the simple idea of encouraging everyone in this country to be on the same team is divisive and offensive.
Truth: is not relative.
It does not change to suit me and my preferences, it requires me to change to suit it. The counterfeit for truth is trend. Trends come and go with what is popular at the time. A strong nation builds on the unshakeable, unchangeable foundation of truth which provides an anchor in a changing world. A nation built on trends will become confused about who it is and where it is going in the future. When basic values are attacked it undermines fundamental principles and nations slowly lose their identities.
Cities and nations must be purposefully built. Could you imagine what would happen if you were building a house and you just decided to allow it to evolve however seemed fit at that moment? Would it be chaos? It is the responsibility of the next generation of Australians to rebuild what has been lost and recapture what it means to be a citizen of this great country. True leaders within our communities will rise to repair the foundations that Australia was built on and protect the future of generations of Australians to come.