Official Opening of Queensland Retired Teachers’ Association Conference: Active Body/Active Mind
I thank the Queensland Retired Teachers’ Association, particularly their President Ms Rogers, for their kind invitation to me to join you this morning. I also thank Mr Bates for his memorable remarks, both as QTRA Patron and President of the Queensland Teachers’ Union.
I understand that the majority of those attending today are retired teachers. I understand also that there may be others here who, like me, are not retired teachers and not quite in their first flush of youth, but who are nonetheless interested in information and advice on living a healthy and active life in older age.
Given that there are so many QRTA members here, I am proud to point out that both my parents were primary school teachers in a number of Queensland State Schools.
In my younger days, that meant that I had the unusual experience, in a school in regional Queensland, of being taught by my mother in a school where my father was the principal!
As I said in a recent interview, my unbiased view was that my mother was the best teacher I ever had. And that having my father as the principal did not involve being given a hard time by my classmates because my parents worked hard to avoid the least hint of favouritism.
This background makes me sensitive to the challenges that teachers must meet, and the satisfaction and frustrations they derive from their profession. My deepest impression, though, was of the great dedication of good teachers everywhere to delivering the best possible education for their students.
That is why teachers were then, and are now, so important to our communities.
It is equally true that senior Australians, whether retired teachers or not, are of great importance to the well-being of our communities.
After retirement they continue to make wonderful contributions to the community in many roles – as parents and grandparents, as a substantial proportion of our marvellous and indispensable volunteer community (including as volunteer guides at Government House), as carers, and as mentors.
This contribution is maximised wherever older Australians remain connected with the life of the community and participate in it to the greatest possible extent.
There are, of course, myriad ways in which this can be achieved.
Those who, like me and Kaye, have been blessed with grandchildren, will find great joy, stimulation, and occasional exhaustion, in the marvellous company of this next generation of family.
Some retirees choose to contribute to their communities through volunteering. Others seek adventure by becoming grey nomads to discover more about our wonderful State and country.
Others still seek out new communities of common interest through the pursuit of skills and interests for which there never was time in the past. Looking through the conference program reminded me that this might include, with appropriate safeguards, online communities.
And some retirees somehow manage to do all of these things!
Better knowledge makes for better choices, and the provision of highly relevant insights and information is the core objective of this conference.
The QRTA, though its branches in Brisbane and regional Queensland, is itself an excellent source of information and of connections and activities for its members. Today’s comprehensive conference program is an extension of this role, providing advice from government and non-government organisations that encourages active minds and bodies.
I thank the hard-working executive of the Queensland Retired Teachers’ Association for organising the conference, and all those who have generously supported the Association and today’s event. I thank also all of today’s speakers for agreeing to share their insights.
I wish participants in the conference a productive and thought-provoking day that ensures the enormous quantum of energy and experience in this room continues to benefit our communities.
It is with great pleasure that I declare the QRTA’s Active Body/Active Mind Conference officially open.