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Mr Hugh Morgan AC delivered the 2006 Oration at the former Melbourne Toorak Campus.
Australia is a small nation occupying a continent, much of which is, admittedly, desert or semi-desert, but which is capable of sustaining a population many times greater than the 20 millions who now live here. At the same time we are within a few hours’ flight time of the most populous nations in the world.
Up until December 1941 Australia relied on the Royal Navy for defence against invasion, and since then we have relied upon the US for maintaining security in our region as well as globally. Today’s contest for national survival rests less upon military ordinance than in the past and greatly more upon national cohesion, confidence and will.
Our prospects of maintaining our sovereignty and the institutions which make Australian citizenship so valuable will be enhanced if we deliberately and consciously pursue policies which will promote prosperity and wealth creation. The history of the last 600 years tells us that wealth and national survival go hand in hand.
Our survival prospects will be enhanced with immigration policies focused strongly on cultural affinity. A country with varied ethnic backgrounds but shared fundamental cultural values is essentially different to one that denies those values inevitably leading to geo-political stress. That we need to increase our population is beyond doubt. But immigration policy must be subordinate to the demands of nation-building.