This past month has seen true extremes in our Australian weather. The volatility of our national climate, so often something we proclaim loudly to the world as a defining feature, has sorely tested our fellow citizens and darkened the beginning of 2011.
As we look around our country at the flooding and cyclones in Queensland, flooding in Victoria and the bushfires in Western Australia we can only be reminded of what Dorothea MacKellar famously called ‘her beauty and her terror.’
The devastation across our continent has affected thousands of lives and left many towns devastated. We can be comforted by the great community spirit that Australians can summon in times of strife. Before the floods had even receded the volunteers arrived, ready to pick up a shovel or a broom and help those affected get back on their feet.
I was proud to join my Coalition colleagues in visiting towns affected by the floods with the Red Cross and helping with sand bags and other recovery efforts. While only a small help for those who lost a lot, I hope we provided some measure assistance and support for our fellow Victorians.
Forged over more than two centuries our Australian spirit has grown used to enduring the damage we pay for being surrounded by such beauty. At times such as this we can take great strength from the constant renewal and beauty of our environment, or in the words of MacKellar ‘For flood and fire and famine, she pays us back threefold’.