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"Fantastically, Australia is still the lucky country. We have the flawed but necessary gift of democracy. Currently there is a debate about whether there is racism in Australia. There is racism in every country in the world. Relatively speaking, we are tolerant of one another. We have a large and giving land and, if you haven't seen its beauty, you haven't seen a beauty precious to the earth."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012

"... Regardless of how you see it happening, the end result is that Australia is in the top bracket of parliamentary democracies in the world. That is the gift my generation were handed... that and the natural resources of a large and bountiful land. We all have a duty to care for this country... We need to have a militant regard for this land and its assets. Australian democracy is imperfect. Nonetheless it delivers rights and freedoms that people in countries such as Syria are dying for. We should not take democracy for granted as we took for granted those delicate, beautiful waterways that met the first Europeans and are now sick, exhausted rivers. Australia has problems... The question is whether a significant number of Australians really want to think about them..."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012

"Nationalism may be intellectually unfashionable as a concept but anyone who denies its existence should watch the Socceroos play a big match at home when there is massive excitement for the green and gold. People are connected in a way they don't even think about. Nationalism may be a myth but to refuse considering nationalism is to create a vacuum in which other mythologies, including anti-social ones, will spread and flourish. Like it or not, we are engaged in the business of nation building."

MARTIN, FLANAGAN - The Age, 26 January 2012