A moving speech by none other than Matty Johns is being shared today along with sausages, sunscreen and more than a few Instagram snaps.
The former NRL player, now Triple M radio personality, has captured the spirit of Australia Day with a special speech that aired this morning on The Grill Team.
During the segment Johns shared the story of his father-in-law, Tony Magnocavallo, who was born in Italy but migrated to Australia after World War II.
“Tony and (his wife) Connie, well they were able to rebuild their lives in Australia,” he said on-air.
“They had seven kids and they even owned a few houses. They gave up their Italian citizenship to become Aussies.”
Johns says that his father-in-law even changed his birthdate to the day he became an Australian citizen.
Johns then went on to urge all Australians to welcome new arrivals to our country with open arms, using his own family’s positive experiences of immigration to prove his point:
“He (Tony) once said to me … ‘This is the greatest country in the world, because if you’re willing to work hard, you can have absolutely everything you want,” Johns said.
“With the threat of terrorism, the temptation is to shut our borders, close in, shut the door, withdraw from the world a step or two. But I mean really, who are we kidding? We’re the product of multiculturalism. That’s who we are. I mean what gives us the right, right now to decide to turn our backs on some poor bugger and his family fleeing horror in his homeland?”
“The Chinese, Vietnamese, the Lebanese, the Tongans, the Russians, the Prussians, the Poms, the Pols, the Irish, the Greeks, the Japanese, the Sudanese, yup, even the Kiwis … They’ve all come, they’ve stayed and they made this joint better. And you know what? As long as they’re fair dinkum we should welcome them with open arms.
“I know what you’re thinking and you’re right,” continued Johns, “We don’t live in fairyland.
“Amongst those who come with great intentions are those who arrive with little regard for our laws, our culture and various freedoms … But we shouldn’t judge the many on these very few.
“Let’s not let fear and suspicion take over the better part of ourselves. In fact, let the way we live our lives shame the way they conduct theirs.
“So happy Australia Day everyone, and don’t listen to the wankers who say it’s ugly to drape yourself in the Aussie flag.
“If you want to do it, just do it. But make sure when you do it, you do yourself, your family, the country and that flag tied around your neck proud.”
Bravo, Matty. And happy Australia Day.