Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lauded the courage, resilience and attentiveness of Australians in 2020, saying he has never been prouder of his compatriots after a year blighted by bushfires and COVID-19.
Australia is set to endure a subdued New Year’s Eve, with people in both Sydney and Melbourne urged to stay at home amid fresh virus outbreaks.
It comes after a difficult year in which Australia battled unprecedented bushfires and was forced into virus-induced lockdown for large stretches – including Victoria’s deadly second COVID-19 wave.
Scott Morrison’s New Year’s message
But Mr Morrison on Thursday said Australians had emerged from those challenges with good grace and geniality, and would hopefully kick on in 2021.
“We proved that once again, we are a nation of overcomers – we’re a nation that prevails and we’re making this way through the crisis in a very Australian way, guided by our enduring principles and values,” he said in a video message.
“Together, we have done better than almost any other country in the world.
“We’ve found the grit, the ingenuity and the forbearance, and we’ve been upheld most of all by our wonderful spirit of mateship.”
Mr Morrison in his message thanked all frontline COVID-19 workers including doctors, nurses, aged care workers, mental health support workers and those working in the hotel quarantine program, as well as police and the military.
He also warned that Australia would in 2021 need to remain vigilant as it awaits its COVID-19 vaccine rollout and seeks to rejuvenate its economy.
“A safe and effective vaccine validated, proven by our scientists, doctors, will be available to all Australians and a key step in our recovery,” Mr Morrison said.
“Stronger, safer, together … that’s the path ahead of us.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also on Thursday issued a short New Year’s Eve message on social media, saying: “I know 2020 hasn’t been the year that any of us wanted.
“But Australians got through it as we always have – by sticking together and by looking out for each other.”
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.