Leaders wish Australians a safe and Merry Christmas

Kaaren Morrissey and Dominic Giannini |

Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton has wished Australians a happy, relaxing and safe Christmas.
Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton has wished Australians a happy, relaxing and safe Christmas.

Anthony Albanese has wished all Australians a Merry Christmas while paying tribute to those who are giving up their day to help others.

“For so many Australians, this is a chance to rest,” the prime minister said in his Christmas message on Sunday.

“To spend time with our family, catch up with friends, and to cherish the memories of those no longer with us.”

Christmas was also a holy time, he said. 

Mr Albanese expressed his gratitude to everyone who’s giving up their Christmas for the sake of others.

“In particular, our emergency personnel and Australian Defence Force members, whether here or overseas,” he said.

“Our medical workers and our hospitality and those who give up for others through charities,” he added.

At the same time, it wasn’t an easy period for some, the prime minister said. 

“I know many Australians are doing it tough at the moment, in particular those in Far North Queensland, dealing with the aftermath of the floods,” he said.

“To them, I say, you are all in our thoughts. May better times be ahead.”

Mr Albanese also asked Australians to drive safely this holiday season.

Mr Albanese plans to spend his day at The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation in Ashfield in Sydney’s west helping to serve Christmas lunch to thousands of people who are homeless and in need of connection and a chat.

He volunteers at the event, run by the Reverend Bill Crews, each year.

Usually arriving early in the morning, Mr Albanese said it was an uplifting experience and represented the spirit of Christmas.

Australians will be looking forward to celebrating Christmas after a tough year in 2023 when many struggled to make ends meet as the cost of living rose, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said.

“But despite the difficulties, Australians pressed on with characteristic resilience,” he said in his Christmas and New Year message.

“The generosity and the efforts of our wonderful charity workers and volunteers epitomised the very best of our society.”

However, “abhorrent displays” of anti-Semitism marked a low point, Mr Dutton said, in the wake of the October 7 attack on southern Israel by the Islamist militant group Hamas.  

“Whether we’re Christians or not, at Christmas we give thanks for the things that we hold dear in life: our family, our friends, our faith and our great fortune to be an Australian,” he said. 

Mr Dutton also remembered those who lost loved ones in 2023.

“I wish all Australians a happy, relaxing and safe Christmas in the company of family and friends,” Mr Dutton said.

Defence Minister Richard Marles and his defence portfolio colleagues – Pat Conroy, Matt Keogh and Matt Thistlewaite – thanked Australian Defence Force members and families.

“We are eternally grateful for the hard work and sacrifices made by our serving personnel, their APS colleagues, friends and family,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

“To those with an empty seat at the dinner table or setting up a video call with family and friends, we truly appreciate the sacrifices you make.”

The ministers also paid tribute to ADF personnel assisting with the northern Queensland flood effort, in support of state emergency services.

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