Malcolm Turnbull has encouraged Australians to do something to brighten the Christmas of those enduring a difficult time.
In his Christmas message, the Prime Minister said while it was a “wonderous time of celebration and reflection” for many, it was a challenging period for others.
“Whatever you’re doing at Christmas this year, please remember those who need our love and support now more than any other time; those who are homeless, those who are alone or lonely and those for whom Christmas is not a joyous celebration,” he said.
“Let’s be there for each other, let’s go out of our way to help out a stranger, let us do what we can to make it a special time of year for everyone.”
Mr Turnbull, who said he will be spending Christmas Day with his wife, children and grandchildren, also paid tribute to the emergency services workers and security agency personnel “whom serve us all year around, all day long”.
In a separate message, the Prime Minister thanked members of the Defence Forces, praising their commitment and sacrifice and noting that it was “especially tough” serving away from family and loved ones at Christmas.
He reflected on their work in the Middle East, Africa and Indo-Pacific during the past 12 months, saying one of the “most special moments of my year” was an Anzac Day visit to forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“This year you’ve helped to defeat Islamist terrorists in the Philippines, in Manilla the Philippines’ CDF told me our Air Force’s contribution was a game-changer,” he said.
“At the same time, our Navy has continued its great work in securing our borders and supporting stability and security in our region and beyond.
“Wherever you are serving and whatever your role, I want you to know that I am proud of each and every one of you.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also recognised the “brave men and women” in the Australian Defence Forces in his Christmas message.
“We think of you and your families back home here in Australia,” he said.
“And let’s also spare a thought for those who are fighting their own battles against poverty, addiction, abuse or mental illness.”
Mr Shorten, who is accompanied in his message by wife Chloe, also thanked those working on Christmas Day “for no other reason than they’ve got to help pay the bills, put food on the table”.
“Without you, the rest of us couldn’t enjoy our Christmas Day and I thank you for your hard work,” he said.