Scott Morrison wants Australians to ‘conquer our fears’ and look to the future with optimism.
In his first Christmas message as prime minister, Mr Morrison paid tribute to Australian defence personnel away from their families, as well as doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.
‘You keep us safe,’ he said in his message on Monday.
Mr Morrison last week travelled to Iraq to meet special forces soldiers and other Australian Defence Force personnel training the Iraqi Army to combat Islamic State.
He again thanked the 3200 deployed Australians for their sacrifice.
‘They were missing their families and friends at Christmas,’ he said.
‘I met mums who would be away from their infant children, as well as dads, for the first time.
‘I met others for whom this has been a way of life for decades.’
He recognised the challenges faced by drought-affected communities, and said charity and church groups supporting those in need were ‘Australia at its best.’
Mr Morrison quoted Australia’s official WWI correspondent Charles Bean, who referred to the celebration of Christmas as ‘sign of our attachment to the highest ideals yet imported on earth’.
‘Bean was talking about service, sacrifice, mates, family and country,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘And courage, which is not the absence of fear, but the choice to conquer our fears by committing to something even greater.
‘Charles Bean was right. Whether you a religious or not, Christmas is a time to hope, a time to give thanks and a time to look ahead with fresh optimism.’