Official Unveiling of the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Statue in the Presence of Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India
Prime Minister, I heartily join the Lord Mayor in welcoming you to Brisbane. As Governor of Queensland, I speak for everyone in our great State in saying, we are sincerely honoured by your presence here in Queensland these past few days.
To all distinguished guests, members of our Indian community, ladies and gentlemen. To the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, the original custodians of these lands, I at once extend respectful greetings.
Today’s occasion bears historical and contemporary significance.
Historical, because we commemorate our two nations’ shared values. They were partly forged in the trenches of the First World War where Indian and Australian soldiers fought, and died, alongside each other. This is particularly notable during this, the Anzac Centenary year.
A contemporary aspect, because our State is enriched immeasurably by the flair, drive and liveliness of spirit of the Indian diaspora who call Queensland home. Many of you are appropriately, and enthusiastically, present here today.
Today’s event has additional personal significance for Kaye and me. Just last month we visited India – one of Queensland’s top 5 and most important trading partners. The purpose was primarily to strengthen economic and cultural ties between Queensland and India. We trust, Prime Minister, that your stay here will be as equally warm and convivial as that which we experienced in India.
Of course, there is a thread that binds all these aspects together today: honouring Gandhi’s indomitable spirit. This spirit is enlivened daily by Indians and Australians, who, living side-by-side, have proven it is possible to optimally develop individuals, families, and societies, by finding strength in our shared cultural values.
Our whole-hearted congratulations to the Prime Minister, to the Committee, and everyone involved with this project. You are ensuring Gandhi’s legacy, rightly, maintains contemporary relevance. You are also fortifying our nations’ unifying and unwavering commitment to democracy, and upholding our concomitant obligations as peace-loving citizens in our respective nations; this is truly worthy of commendation. Thank you.