Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem My Country reminds us of the extremes of the Australian climate, but the start to 2020 with the combined impact of the prolonged drought, and destructive bushfires spread across Australia has truly tested the mettle of our nation.
Yet we have shown our spirit to be unbroken, and indeed, stronger than ever as we unite to support those who have suffered losses and hardship.
Emergency services and volunteers have worked tirelessly to protect lives and properties, and countless volunteers have stepped up to support them with everything from preparing meals, doing their washing, hosting fundraisers and many other kind gestures.
Even our wildlife has not been forgotten, with thousands of hand-knitted and sewn joey pouches, bat wraps and nesting baskets being made by crafters across the nation.
It is this kind of love for our country, our countrymen, and our native flora and fauna that is truly inspiring.
This support in times of adversity shows true Aussie mateship, and this is what should be celebrated on Australia Day on Sunday, January 26.
As always, our country's strength lies in our people. We stand together in these challenging times, regardless of race, age, gender or religion, and unite to bring hope to those who need it.
Our people are known throughout the world for our reliability, generosity, bravery and compassion and this Australia Day, we should also remember how people from around the world have joined with us, putting their lives at risk to help fight fires and assist with the recovery effort.
While we celebrate Australia Day and our nation's many achievements, we pay our respects to those who have lost their lives fighting the fires that have ravaged our nation.
January 26 is an important day for all to acknowledge that despite these recent tragedies, we are a fortunate country, and thanks to the hard work and sacrifices of those who have gone before us, we are one of the safest, most economically stable countries in the world, with many opportunities ahead.
We honour those who came here first and those who have just arrived, and we celebrate our multicultural diversity. Australians are different, we are equal, and we live in the best country in the world.
Whether you plan to take part in one of the many public ceremonies throughout Wide or you choose to commemorate the occasion at home, I hope you fly the Aussie flag with pride, stay safe and enjoy the day with your fellow Australians.