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"I cannot condone the systematic destruction of the hope and spirit of people who have suffered hardship and pain to reach our shores. They are people who believe that they have been or are at risk of being persecuted in their own country. "


"Stand up for what you think is right. That might be very different from what I am saying today, but you are allowed to differ from me just as I am allowed to differ from you. That is part of our strength as a country that we can differ from each other."

DR JOHN, YU - addressing graduates at the University of Sydney, 2008

"I hope I have repaid Australia for the humanity it showed me, as it has shown to so many others over the years."


"These are challenging and exciting times. No previous generation of Australians has ever had such an opportunity. No other country in the world has such an opportunity now. So long as we retain faith in ourselves, practise tolerance and reward initiative, we should be in no doubt about succeeding."

DR JOHN, YU - on accepting his Australian of the Year award, 1996

"There was something quite captivating about the honesty, the happiness of kids. Most have an openness and an acceptance which we lose."