Speeches

The Governor is invited to speak at a wide range of significant official, ceremonial and community events, including the Opening of Parliament, ANZAC Day ceremonies and events for Patron groups. A selection of these speeches is available below in a searchable database.

Back to all speeches

 at Government House

2017 Christmas Reception

Chief Justice; Members of the Executive Council; former Governors of Queensland; parliamentarians; Your Honours; senior Defence representatives; religious leaders; members of the Consular Corps of Queensland; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to your Government House for our 2017 Christmas reception.

In the spirit of this season of goodwill and of mutual support especially, I acknowledge at once our Indigenous fellow Queenslanders, people who at all stages of their lives have contributed so much to our rich culture – may I express my great respect for them, and their Elders, especially to the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples.

The role of our Indigenous Queenslanders in contemporary Australian history was again brought home to Kaye and me in October, when I officially represented Queensland in Israel for the centenary commemorations of the Battle of Beersheba and the Sinai-Palestine Campaign.

More than a thousand Indigenous soldiers – many from Queensland – served with the Australian Imperial Force in World War I, despite the difficulties of enlisting.

We were so privileged, through our presence in Beersheba, to have the opportunity to honour our Indigenous diggers, alongside all Australians and Queenslanders, who fought and died in that and so many other campaigns.

Indeed representing Queenslanders at military commemorations, especially at the annual Brisbane Dawn Service of Remembrances, have been some of my most important public presentations so far, the significance of such appearances amplified at this World War One centenary time.

At this year’s Brisbane Anzac Parade, a venerably old uniformed Digger stopped his trolley in Adelaide Street, exited with great difficulty, and drawing himself up saluted me on the dais –
it was a most moving acknowledgement… a most moving acknowledgement of many things.

Over the past year, Kaye and I have continued our extensive travels throughout Queensland, from St George in the South, to Cooktown, Aurukun, Hope Vale and Lockhart River in our very North – how proud we all should be as a State community that we support such small communities, these remoter towns which help define and feed the very psyche of our State, our people.

We have, incidentally this year, added some wonderful expressions of Indigenous art to the Government House collection: it is on display for all our many visitors to see – Aurukun ‘ku camp dog sculptures in the entrance Vestibule, and three Irene Namok original paintings from Lockhart River Arts.

Kaye and I visited a further seven localities over a 7-day period from our Mackay base as part of Regional Government House, including the Whitsunday Islands and adjacent coastal communities, reeling then – and in many instances still now – from Cyclone Debbie.

I mention this because all of you here tonight, remarkable Queenslanders as you are, appreciate the significance of all our people – all so important in defining who we are and should be, with the ultimate message being one of mutual respect and support, especially, at this festive time, conspicuous support for fellow co-citizens beset by adversity.

This drive for cohesion must be ongoing, and will be aided next year by an event here in Queensland that will bring the people of this nation and of the world together in peace and harmony — the Commonwealth Games.

The Queen’s Baton reaches Brisbane on Christmas Eve and after a 100-day journey around the country, including at Government House on Good Friday, will arrive at the Opening Ceremony on the Gold Coast on the fourth of April.

That event will mark 35 years since Matilda the kangaroo winked at the crowd during the Opening Ceremony for the terrifically successful 1982 Games in Brisbane — and all eyes will be on the twenty-eighteen Games mascot, Borobi, the surfing koala, as he, too, endears himself to the world.

 For all of us here at Government House, twenty-eighteen will be another very busy year, not only because of the Games, but because of our continuing commitment to encourage and inspire Queenslanders, wherever they may live, and to support the fantastic efforts of so many cohesively-aligned community organisations, of so many of which we are Patron.

We continue to do so with an enthusiasm commensurate with your overwhelming support.

And we do in humble appreciation of the privilege of our being in this role! One’s family tends to keep one grounded, but I cannot resist adding a reference to a ‘Hear and Say’ 25th anniversary event on Monday. I was being formally photographed with a wonderful little girl and her sister. I said to her, demonstrating my slightly aging auditory capacity: “What did you say?”, to which she responded, “I was talking to my sister”!

Kaye and I continue to be uplifted by every encounter we have with our fellow Queenslanders – it gives us enormous hope for the future of this great State and of our nation.

It remains for me to wish you all a restful Christmas and holiday season with family and friends. Like each of you, we hope that twenty-eighteen brings the world more than a little closer to peace. Merry Christmas.