Monday, January 27, 2014

Ita Buttrose Australia Day Address 2014: Speech

The 2014 Australia Day Address by Ita Buttrose, AO OBE, delivered at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music on Tuesday 21 January 2014 is one of the most fantastic, heartfelt speeches I have read. Ita proves again she has her finger on the pulse. The publishing stalwart, TV presenter, public speaker, and Australian living legend spoke about what lies ahead for Australia, on the eve of the announcement of the Australian of the Year for 2014 (which was Adam Goodes).

Here are excerpts from her speech:

"I’m honoured to have been asked to deliver this Australia Day Address. 

Of all the events I’ve had the privilege to be part of as Australian of the year, this 
occasion is easily the most daunting because I am reflecting on an extraordinary 
year – one to which I want to do justice and one I shall never forget as long as I live. 

It’s not easy to adequately capture the myriad impressions and thoughts that have 
filled my life in the last 12 months and then to be here with you this evening to talk 
about our great country and the challenges, and opportunities we face. 

As a journalist I like what we call “a good story”, so let me start with people and their 
stories. It is to the many Australians who have shared their stories with me during 
2013 that I would most like to give my thanks and tell them how much I have 
appreciated their openness and courage in sharing what often have been harrowing 

Without wanting in anyway to romanticise the struggle that many Australians face, it’s 
the spirit they display in tackling their everyday lives that will be an enduring memory 
for me. 

“Hope” is probably the best catchall word I can use to sum up the essence of what 
I’ve heard through 2013. 

It’s hope that gives us the resilience and drive to achieve the better life we want for 
ourselves and for those we love. 

If we don’t have hope it’s that much harder – I would suggest impossible – to shape a 
vision and then find the motivation to strive for it. So nurturing hope and keeping it 
alive in Australia is vital if we want a society of healthy, well-balanced individuals.

A healthy human spirit never gives up and I think that’s how we Australians like to 
think of ourselves. 

The Australian spirit is also about lending a hand, helping those who need it the most 
and ensuring that we all get a fair go."

Ita continues:

"When I accepted the honour of becoming Australian of the Year I said that I hoped to 
contribute a little to achieving a more positive approach to ageing, delivering on the 
Alzheimer’s Australia fight dementia campaign and putting the spotlight on the need 
for more medical research for dementia. 
It has been a privilege to have a platform on which to promote a more positive  approach to ageing and to tackling ageist attitudes in our society. 
I’ve enjoyed advocating for the new thinking that challenges us all to look after both 
our physical and brain health throughout our lives and am encouraged by the 
enthusiastic reaction of Australians, both young and old. 
I’ve also enjoyed and again, been encouraged by the reaction to my spruiking of 
Alzheimer’s Australia’s dementia risk reduction program your brain matters. 
It has been said that it takes some 17 years for the evidence from medical research 
to get translated into practice."

Further, Ita adds:

"My activism is demonstrated through my fight for the rights of older Australians, 
particularly those with dementia, whose wellbeing is progressively dependent on 
There has been a fundamental shift in how we are thinking about care and support. 
For instance, for the first time consumers are at the centre of aged care and 
disabilities. It is an outcome of which Alzheimer’s Australia and other consumer 
organisations can be rightly proud. 
I believe this sets the tone for this century – people with dementia have been 
empowered to speak out for themselves about what life is like with dementia and 
what they need to be full members of our society. 

Read the rest of this insightful speech here.

Photo: Blogtariat

Ita's Call For A Better Australia - Studio 10: VIDEO

Listen to this and understand why Alzheimer's matters.

And why Ita Buttrose is the voice of the people affected by this condition.

Watch this, a clip from this week's Channel 10 show, 'Studio 10', on the back of Ita's Australia Day address on what she thinks Australia needs to do to be better, movineg