Message to the Australian Antarctic Division's Midwinter Dinner

Greetings everybody, it’s Tanya Plibersek here, coming to you from the land of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people.

As Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Water, I want to wish you all a very happy Midwinter solstice. 

Not many people get to live through the shortest day of the year, in the coldest place on earth. 

But the good news is, it will only get easier from here.

The days will start getting longer, the sun will start feeling brighter, and you’ll be that much closer to seeing your friends and family once again. 

The annual Midwinter feast is a wonderful tradition. 

It goes back to the days of Douglas Mawson, who celebrated the occasion with plum pudding and barbequed penguin. 

Thankfully, you’ve updated your menu since then. 

So compliments to the chef. 

And to all the other expeditioners, enjoy the feast. You deserve it.

Today marks the halfway point through your Antarctic year. 

It's a chance to reflect on the work you’ve accomplished, on the friendships you’ve built, and also the sacrifices you’ve made for this mission. 

This is more than a job. It’s an adventure. 

But it’s also difficult, complex, demanding work. 

You are Australia’s men and women on the frontier of the world.

And the scientific research you are doing here will have a lasting impact, far beyond the deep south. 

You’ve got to be a tough bunch down there.

Which explains your other Midwinter tradition, which is carving out a pool in the ice, and then jumping in for a swim. 

For those who’ve taken the plunge, stay safe, and please get warm. 

And for those who’ve chosen the wiser course, enjoy a more relaxing day. 

Because we need you back out there, recharged and ready to go. 

Each and every one of you is an essential part of this mission – to protect, support and understand Antarctica, one of the last truly wild places on Earth.

Thank you.