The Governor's International Women's Day Speech


A speech delivered at Government House by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, at the 2016 International Women's Day reception:

Kaye and I warmly welcome you all to Government House tonight in celebration of International Women’s Day – the highlight this year of the Queensland Government – YWCA initiative, Queensland Women’s Week! And like the many other enthusiastic Mamamia readers here tonight, it was wonderful, Minister Fentiman, to read today why we now have a week dedicated to empowering women.

It is a great pleasure and privilege to be addressing again a wide representation of dynamic Queensland women, and, if small in number tonight, ably supportive men.  

Tonight we gather in a spirit of celebration, to recognise the manifestly beneficial and vital achievements and contributions of our State’s inspirational women.

At a high public level, over the past 12 months there has been notable new ground made in our State and nationally.  

Within the wider governmental ambit, there continue to be more women than men in Queensland’s Cabinet, and our State’s first woman Chief Justice has been appointed.

Vice-regally, with the accession of Professor Kate Warner to Tasmania’s highest office in December, the position of Governor has, in all Australian States, at some stage, as a first in our nation’s history, been occupied by a woman.

These are all notable achievements, and reflect wider community progress, and the patently sensible recalibration underway in our society towards equality of opportunity.

Of course, we do not forget that the advancement of our society relies very much on daily contributions, across the full spectrum of society, represented in tonight’s guests from across government, business and industry, education, health, the arts, the community sector, sport and the law.

And these efforts occur all around our State. As but one example, just this week, in Rockhampton, Kaye and I toured the Rockhampton Police Station, where I was presented with a copy of “Inspirational Women in Policing” – a book wonderfully celebrating contributions of 37 female QPS officers from the Central Region; a very timely reminder, as if we needed one, of the exemplary contributions we today recognise. (I have left the book, by the way, on the piano lid.)

And while we primarily unite today in a spirit of celebration, we also rededicate ourselves on many fronts.

First, we must always strive to ensure that all women can, and do, achieve their ambitions, with equality in return.

Second, we must, with unbending will, continue to denounce all forms of violence in our society, but especially against women and those within the spectrum of humanity different from ourselves.

These are crucial stipulations locally here in Australia, but also within the global context, consistent with the increasing focus, through many organisations including UN Women, on supporting women particularly in the Pacific.

Wherever Kaye and I go around this marvellous State, our admiration for Queenslanders grows ever deeper.

There is a wellspring of pride in knowing that we are so willing to support one another, and seek to obtain maximum benefit from our capacities, thereby securing a better future.  

This is the essence of today’s celebration, and its continuation relies very much on your wonderful, dedicated contributions. Kaye and I thank you all most wholeheartedly.