I would like to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Every year I look forward to Christmas to be able to spend some proper time with my family, friends, and loved ones. Christmas gives many of us an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and consider the year ahead.
2016 has been a particularly formidable year.
It will be remembered as the year of Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump, and of millions fleeing conflict in their home country. There’s no doubt that, like me, many are hopeful for a better 2017.
Yet there’s much to do and 2017 promises to be another turbulent year.
Reflecting on the events of this last year I set this challenge; that those of us who seek to create and safeguard an open, tolerant and united country, in which nobody is left behind, come together to make 2017 a year of hope for our communities and society.
We must come together to stand against the politics of fear and division that threatens our decent, liberal values.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those who are giving their time over the holiday to make the lives of the most vulnerable more hopeful. Those helping the homeless in our communities, helping refugees fleeing conflict, caring for the elderly, and our emergency services staff. Thank you for your ongoing care and dedication.
We have a busy and challenging year ahead of us. But in the meantime, I hope over this holiday period you have a chance to relax and to spend time with family and friends.