As we enter the week leading up to Christmas 2012 most Aussies will be focused on what we plan to do as families during the festive season.
Our thoughts will be on our children, our loved ones, the exchange of gifts, Christmas dinner, taking the children or grandchildren to the beach, playing games in the backyard, cooking on the barbeque or just hugging a grandchild or watching the sheer joy on the faces of children unwrapping their Christmas gifts.
Christmas in Australia is also a hot volatile environment in our tinder dry landscape and we are already experiencing the outbreak of fires which motivate fire fighters, volunteers and emergency personnel to unselfishly sacrifice family Christmas celebrations to help fellow Australians in need as only Aussies do.
Even for those who may not be able to exchange gifts or indulge in a Christmas dinner on December 25, the Christmas season is still a time to reflect on all of those values which influence our love for each other and our mainstream traditional lifestyles.
We should spare a thought and send our Christmas greetings and gratitude to the many men and women who make our nation proud with the commitment and risks they take in the protection of our great country and the important contribution they make in peacekeeping exercises throughout the world.
As this will be my last Christmas message as your Federal Member, Gloria and I extend our best wishes for a happy, holy and safe Christmas and take this opportunity to thank you all for the honour bestowed on me to represent you at State and Federal level for the past 25 years.