Australia ensures a ?fair go for all?: Tweed ambassador
Australia Day Ambassador to the Tweed Ben Austin told the large crowd he was living proof of the Australian philosophy of "a fair go for all".
The 24-year-old Paralympic swimmer said he believed the philosophy had evolved to the point where every Australian, no matter what their walk in life, could achieve goals beyond those thought achievable in bygone years.
"Twenty years ago I would not have been given the opportunity to reach my full potential as an elite athlete with a disability," Ben said.
"In 2000, I gained a live-in scholarship at the Australian institute of Sport, the first elite athlete with a disa- bility to obtain one.
At the Sydney Olympics, cheered on by a huge contingent from his home town of Wellington, NSW, Ben bagged two silver and two bronze medals.
At the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, he was one of two male elite athletes with a disability selected to represent Australia.
"How was I and others like myself given these opportunities? It was through ordinary Australians like yourselves constantly striving to create a fair go for all," he said.
"Whenever I return from overseas and touch home soil, I realise nothing compares to Australia."