Scott Morrison has used the final day of parliament for the year to pay tribute to the efforts of “quiet Australians” during the coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister’s official Christmas card includes the names and images of eight Australians who played unheralded but important roles over one of the most difficult years in a century.
“This has been a united national effort of so many Australians quietly going about their business to ensure that their country is amongst a handful of nations in the world to be able to come through this terrible crisis,” Mr Morrison said.
“As prime minister, I’m deeply grateful to the people of Australia.”
Mr Morrison previously credited “quiet Australians” just over 12 months ago with securing an election win for the Liberal-National coalition.
He said 2020 would take Australians many years to get over, but sounded a positive note.
“We can look forward and know that things will regrow, things will be rebuilt, lives will be restored, and Australians will come together again over this Christmas period.”
Health Minister Greg said Australia owed an enormous debt of gratitude to health and medical workers.
“This has been our hardest of years but I believe it’s been our finest of years.”
Worldwide, the tally has passed 68 million cases, with 1.56 million lives lost.
Over the past 24 hours across the globe, there have been 640,000 cases and 12,000 lives lost, while Australia has recorded zero cases in the community.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it had been a year from hell with drought, bushfires, floods and a pandemic.
“Just as there’ve been, of course, many downsides there has been an upside – we have been reminded of things about the Australian spirit,” Mr Albanese said.
“I think we end the year knowing that we can stand tall as a nation. We can look forward to 2021 with a sense of optimism.”