February 1 - 7, 2015: Issue 200

Pittwater's Australia Day Mix - 2015 

As schools went back this week Pittwater has quietened the last few days. The long weekend leading into the return to classrooms was a different matter however - glorious days on Saturday and Sunday, combined with a range of local events such as the 2015 Big Swim and WPYC's annual Putt Putt Regatta, brought thousands of residents and visitors to all parts of Pittwater.

Monday's Australia Day festivities were dampened slightly by overcast skies and rain that settled in to linger for a few days. 

While Pittwater Council held a Citizenship Ceremony, conducted by Mayor Jacqueline Townsend, at Bert Payne Reserve on Newport Beach, community groups such as Zonta, Rotary and the Lions Club of Pittwater hosted a breakfast and Newport SLSC 'Aussie' activities such as thong throwing.

On the estuary side members of the Royal Motor Yacht Club - Broken Bay, at Newport, enjoyed a fantastic Brunch. 

Pittwater's MP Rob Stokes and Federal Member for Mackellar, Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, Patron of the RMYC, both of whom had attended the Newport Beach celebrations and ceremony, greeting each new citizen, also attended festivities on the estuary side of Newport. 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon. Bishop gave this year's Australia Day Address, her core message this year focussing not just on our blessings but also paying tribute to Australian of the Year,  Rosie Batty, and reiterating that all Australian of the year Awards this year went to women.

Hon Bronwyn Bishop – Australia Day Address 2015:

We celebrate Australia Day in a world that has become very threatening and changed from the world we had previously known. When we pick up the newspaper we read about conflicts that are occurring in so many parts of the world, and threats to the way of life we believe in and have believed we have been successful in showing the world how individuals can have the best life. But there are those among us who would challenge that in our world and want to see a different regime. 

In this new job that I have as Speaker of the House of Representatives I often have the honour of representing the Australian people at International Forums. I have just returned from two weeks in Latin America where I heard first hand from people who had been to Australia and studied in Australia speak of Australia as paradise.

This doesn’t diminish the love for their own country or its culture, but it does say that we have something very precious here and that we should look after this.

Australia has really stepped up the pace internationally and as we celebrate Australia Day we celebrate that Australia is one of the top 20 countries in the world. With that comes obligations, obligations to take a leadership role, obligations to take an operational role, obligations to always be there to extend the hand of friendship to those people in the world who believe that the individual has the right to have a full life….And that means women as well as men.

Unfortunately in many places in this world women are not free, they have no opportunity as we in Australia have. This year Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero of the Year are all women – this is a historic day for our country.

Cheers and applause

There are a few countries in the world where this would be impossible, where women are still regarded as chattels.

So we have an obligation to reach out and do our part in the international arena and take up leadership roles.

It means here in our country, where we have seen our country develop opportunities for individuals to succeed, that we have taken the right course in asking peoples from all over the world to come here and join us, to bring their talents and their aspirations, their hopes for the future, to be part of us.

What has happened is that all of these people have gone into a great big melting pot. What has come out is uniquely Australian, with our own chivalry, with our own quirky sense of humour, with our own colloquialisms.

We are the inheritors of the Westminster system and I have to say, I’m on a crusade; I want people to know that Australia has put her own stamp on it.

This morning Rob Stokes very eloquently made the case for the inheritance we have and how we have to build on this. Our inheritance was  the Westminster system. What we have done is build it into something else which I refer to as ‘Ausminster’ – and I want Ausminster to go into the dictionary to describe our system of government. We have changed things quite dramatically from the way in which the Westminster system operates.

Australia is a bold and courageous country. Australia is a country which has faced challenges and taken up the responsibility to fight for freedom where others might say ‘it doesn’t affect us, why are we there?’.

We are there because we believe it’s right, and because the values and principles in which we believe are precious and have to be defended, not just here, but in an international sense.

Many say that in Australia we play above our weight. Julie Bishop, my colleague, says we should always speak about Australia being part of the top 20 nations in the world. If you look around the world and see that different policies and settings and belief systems can mean that the prosperity that we enjoy is something that others miss out on. 

We can’t say ‘that’s just too bad for them’ – we have an obligation to assist others to rise up.

So as we come to Australia Day, and acknowledge the blessings that we have, and acknowledge what a wonderful country we have, we still know that in our own midst we have our own demons to settle.

For those of you who heard the speech made by Rosie Batty, when she was announced as Australian of the Year, talk about the need to eliminate domestic violence – hers makes a strong and powerful voice. When Rosie said her young son, killed by his own father, walked every step of the way with her, you recognised that this was a passionate and emotional speech that came straight form her heart into the hearts of everybody who heard her.

She said she could take this office and use it so that change could be brought about and make things better. She is a remarkable woman. If each of us take on board the kind of courage she has and say ‘there’s a little bit ore that I can do to make our country and our way of life even better’ then nothing can hold us back.

So in this new role I have I’m enjoying the international responsibilities, the domestic responsibilities, but first and foremost I am the Member for Mackellar – my first responsibility is to the people in this electorate and I thank you for the support that you give me. I say that this is a two way street though and that I also have to give back to you.

Today, as we celebrate Australia Day and look at the mist and rain, let us not think that it is something that stopped us having the Boat Parade but think of them more as tears from Heaven which fall to our good soil to make these ideas grow and flourish. 

I simply say to you all, Happy Australia Day.

As read in our Federal Representatives 2015 Australia Day Address,  weather conditions meant year's RMYC Boating Parade was cancelled. Members still enjoyed a great day on their boats, which were docked along the break wall, while others enjoyed the live entertainment by "Venus" in the Garden Forecourt. Congratulations go to club vessels that won awards on the day for the 'best dressed vessel' with an Australia Day theme. This year one Division of this great club combined their efforts, and vessels, with 'Sapphire' and 'Leeuwin'  winning the Best Dressed Vessel & Crew award, with 'Landseer III' coming in second place. 

Meanwhile, in on the Harbour, one of our regular contributors, Joanne Seve, with her lovely family, viewed all the activities that take place on these waters, including the Ferrython Race, the Wiggles at the Opera House and the quite spectacular HMAS Canberra cruising around among all those taking part in the Boat Parade or Regatta - great stuff.

With so much brightness and activity, even on grey days, this week we share a few images from all of us being.... us.

Pittwater’s Young Citizen of the Year - Tommy Raymen from Elanora Heights. 

Tommy was selected for his act of bravery when a runaway petrol tanker overturned and exploded on Mona Vale Road. At the time Tommy was driving towards the tanker which exploded into a fireball, engulfing two cars and left a third car in immediate peril. Tommy was on a collision course with the exploding carnage when he stopped, jumped out of his car and ran towards the car which was covered in a ball of black smoke. He heard screams and found an elderly woman inside her car whom he managed to drag to safety. Tommy’s only thought was to save lives, in spite of the risk to his own.

On Monday, at Newport, Mr. Raymen stated he 'simply did what any of us would do - that's what we do as Australians, we help each other'

Pictures by A J Guesdon, 2015