PM chokes up during emotional speech
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has choked up while remembering his late father John at a reception for the Australian of the Year finalists.
"Earlier in the week my father passed," he said in his address to the nominees at The Lodge on Saturday.
"He loved Australia and he'd love you all because you've been building the country he loved."
Mr Morrison paused for a number of seconds to compose himself.
"You've helped make Australia a better place," he said, taking another moment.
"You've made us proud, you'd have made him proud, and I know the family members and loved ones who are here with you today are as proud."
After fronting reporters at a press conference in Canberra earlier on Thursday, he announced on Facebook he had received news overnight about the death of his 84-year-old father.
"He lived a great life and was much loved," Mr Morrison wrote.
"He was a loving husband to my mum Marion for 57 years. He was a wonderful father to me and my brother Alan. He loved Jen as a daughter and was a devoted grandfather to our girls."
The prime minister ended the post with praise for this father.
"Love you Dad and well done good and faithful servant."
Mr Morrison today thanked the highly-respected citizens from all states and territories nominated for the 2020 awards during what he conceded was a "difficult time" for the nation.
"We draw strength from you, from your examples, from you courage, your compassion,'" he said.
"We draw strength from those amazing volunteers who are out there today, selflessly serving.
"Their courage, their generosity. How good is Australia?"
Mr Morrison will announce the winner later on Saturday.
Awards will also be presented in the categories of young, senior and local hero of the year in this 60th anniversary of the gongs.