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Friday 23 December 2016

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, has today released an official Christmas Message:

Kaye and I wish all our fellow Queenslanders a joyous, safe and relaxing Christmas and festive season, with every best wish for a fulfilling 2017.

During the past two and a half years, we have met huge numbers of Queenslanders, with whose lives, however briefly, we have intersected, and whom Kaye and I, as best we can, have sought to inspire.

We were delighted when over five nights in December, 7,200 Queenslanders visited our Christmas Lights display at Fernberg. What a great pleasure it was to talk with so many of our wonderful fellow citizens.

The spirit of optimism they evinced drew me back to Regional Government House in Longreach in October. The inspiring regeneration of the region following substantial rains has left many confident, although this crippling drought is sadly not over yet: substantial follow-up Summer rains are necessary. And a lot of the State remains drought-affected.

From Longreach we visited a number of small, even tiny communities. We marvelled at this wonderful State, where we acknowledge the significance of everyone, and the capacity of all – even tiny remote communities – to contribute to the definition of our psyche as Queenslanders.

The Diamantina Shire in the Channel Country is the size of Tasmania, yet has a population of only about 300 people. Most live in Birdsville and Bedourie, its two towns. These people are amazingly resilient, enduring drought and flood without complaint, just getting on with life.

In another small town, Jundah, we met the entire school population of 10, joined for the occasion by the four students from nearby Stonehenge.

There is enormous diversity in our State, but the Outback experience is very special, and it is gratifying our governments – and increasing numbers of tourists – recognise that, for the endurance and achievement of the people of these smaller centres really do go to define what makes Queenslanders different – in a good way.

I think the essence is that we all unreservedly stand ready to help one another, and that is conspicuous following natural disasters, and epitomized by all our service personnel currently serving overseas.

I hope of course we may be free of natural disaster this season, though sadly it seems, human conflict is with us in the long term.

But I know this festive season in Queensland will be marked by the mutual respect and support which go to mark out all our fellow citizens as great Queenslanders, as great Australians.

There were unsurprisingly many children among the thousands who visited Government House for Christmas Lights. Their joy was palpable. And as Christmas beckons, I particularly thank their parents, carers and teachers who contribute so much to the development of our treasured adults of the future. I thank them for their devotion to a role which is not necessarily easy and often involves considerable sacrifice.

Our fellow Queenslanders, you all have our warmest best wishes for the season.