The Australia Day speech 2011 was given by Englishman Sir Michael Parkinson, who considers himself an honorary Aussie after calling Australia home for three decades. However, choosing a non-Australian to deliver the keynote speech has divided opinion.
The Australia Day speech is usually given by a well-known Australian public figure, academic or writer and retired talk-show Parkinson host was a controversial choice.
When the decision was first announced, comments on the official website were largely angry that a Brit had been chosen.
“I am b****y disgusted and this is yet another erosion of OUR nation and culture,” one man wrote.
Parkinson used his speech to describe Australia as he sees it and mentioned the country’s response to the floods.
“Writing this speech trying to convey the humour and good nature of the Australian people, and searching to explain why this is still the lucky country, has been difficult at a time of terrible disaster in Queensland,” he said.
”And yet to the outside observer nothing becomes your people more than the way they respond to the horrors of flood and fire. In 2009 the bushfires of Victoria, today the floods in Queensland have reminded the world of the resilience and courage of the Australian people.”
Parky covered the difficult subject of the Ashes by suggesting that the tournament defined the relationship between England and Australia.
It is only a matter of time before Australia became a republic, Parkinson went on to say.
”Why should Australia not be a republic? It’s its own country, its own man.” He said the period after Queen Elizabeth either dies or abdicates would be an ”acceptable” time for the nation to formally sever ties with the British royal family.
Parky’s speech appears to have gone down reasonably well and Twitter comments were on the whole positive.
“Parkinson’s Australia day address was the most insightful and eloquent speech on this country I’ve ever heard…and he’s a Pom!” Tweeted one user.