Peter Dutton wishes Australians a Merry Christmas and a better new year

Australians will be looking forward to celebrating Christmas after a tough year in 2023 when many struggled to make ends meet as the cost of living rose, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said.

“But despite the difficulties, Australians pressed on with characteristic resilience,” he said in his Christmas and New Year message.

“The generosity and the efforts of our wonderful charity workers and volunteers epitomised the very best of our society.”

However, “abhorrent displays” of anti-Semitism marked a low point, Dutton said, in the wake of the October 7 attack on southern Israel by the Islamist militant group Hamas.

“Whether we’re Christians or not, at Christmas we give thanks for the things that we hold dear in life: our family, our friends, our faith and our great fortune to be an Australian,” he said.

Dutton also remembered those who lost loved ones in 2023.

“I wish all Australians a happy, relaxing and safe Christmas in the company of family and friends,” Mr Dutton said.

Defence Minister Richard Marles and his defence portfolio colleagues — Pat Conroy, Matt Keogh and Matt Thistlewaite — thanked Australian Defence Force members and families.

“We are eternally grateful for the hard work and sacrifices made by our serving personnel, their APS colleagues, friends and family,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

“To those with an empty seat at the dinner table or setting up a video call with family and friends, we truly appreciate the sacrifices you make.”

The ministers also paid tribute to ADF personnel assisting with the northern Queensland flood effort, in support of state emergency services.