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Friday, 20 January 2017 12:44

President's Message for Australia Day

Bp Huggins Aust. Day message

Applying the 'golden rule' of treating others as one would like to be treated, I feel deeply for Muslims, amidst current hostility.

The latest sadness is over that Australia Day banner with smiling faces who happen to be Muslims.

Attacking diversity, as the new political correctness, is both cruel and absurd.

We are one human family on a tiny planet in a vast universe. We are gifted with life by creative forces beyond our control, each of us carrying the divine image and likeness.

It is all gift, best responded to with kindness and understanding. Muslims I know just want to live the same normal, complicated lives the rest of us live!

Australia Day approaches. Is it not our destiny to be a sign of hope to the rest of the human family that it is possible for diversity to flourish on planet earth?

We have all the advantages needed to fulfil this destiny: relative political and social stability; a strong economy with opportunities for the young; media and religious freedom; a separation of powers between the judiciary and government; a flourishing artistic community and so much more.

Of course there are issues.

Like the need for renewal in some intermediary organisations between the individual and the State, including the Church's need for renewal in the light of the Royal Commission and also Islam’s struggle with a minority of extremists. We must also consider the unfinished matter of reconciliation which always aches in our national soul on Australia Day.

But all our issues are manageable if there is leadership marked by courage and imagination, exercised with compassion.

Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate both who we are and who we can become, if we all offer such leadership together.

The wider world is full of tears. We need to embrace our Australian destiny as hope- bearers!


Bishop Philip Huggins

President, National Council of Churches