Griffith University Honorary Doctorate
I warmly acknowledge the presence today of the Chancellor, who has given such dedicated long service to the University, the presence of the Vice-Chancellor and members of the University Council and staff, distinguished guests, graduates, ladies and gentlemen.
I too now acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land and extend respectful greetings.
Ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate not only the complimentary remarks of the Vice-Chancellor, but also, my being subject to ordinary human frailty, his flattery!
I hope I have always striven to pursue such capacities as I have. But my career indicates I have also been the beneficiary of a great deal of good fortune.
That said, my having come from a background not marked by any particular material privilege, I stand before you, graduates, as an example of what may be achieved by simply doing one’s best.
It was after my appointment as Governor was announced, but before I was sworn-in, that Professor O’Connor conveyed the invitation that I accept this distinguished acknowledgment.
I mention that timing because I see this award as reflecting much more than any achievement and public contribution of my own.
I believe it also reflects this fine university’s reassuring appreciation of the significance of two high profile offices in the State: Chief Justice of Queensland and Governor of Queensland.
As to the former, although Sir Charles Wanstall – the 13th Chief Justice of Queensland – was rightly described as my judicial mentor, I was ever conscious, as over my 16 years as the 17th Chief Justice, of the monumental contribution and achievement of our 3rd Chief Justice, whose name you proudly perpetuate, Sir Samuel Griffith. How admiring he would have been - political leader, legislator, jurist, educator – of what this university has achieved, and is achieving, and will achieve.
As to the Office of Governor, it was the only high public office in the State which Griffith did not hold, although he may well have had he not assumed the Chief Justiceship of the High Court.
It is a matter of great significance for me, thence the people, that Griffith University – a University which reflects, what I would see as Griffith’s core values of intellectual integrity, unremitting application, lateral thinking and social inclusion – should honour the Office of Governor, and me as its 26th emanation, in this way.
Graduates at all levels, I warmly congratulate you on your high tertiary achievement, and the degrees and diplomas which have today been formally conferred. I urge you to follow the enduring example of Sir Samuel Griffith and deploy your considerable talents for the benefit of others as well as yourselves and for the betterment of our community generally.
I hope that over your professional lives, you will, as was my privilege, have many opportunities to do so.
Taking up those opportunities, you will do your university, and your community, proud! Thank you.