Consular Corps of Queensland 2014 Christmas Dinner
I acknowledge with pleasure the presence of the Chief Justice, Minister Elmes, the Leader of the Opposition Ms Palaszczuk and other dignitaries.
I thank the Dean and members of the Corps for their kind invitation.
We thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, for your company and your wonderful hospitality and we look forward very much to hearing the address by Mrs Rinehart.
Kaye and I were most honoured that one of our very early events in this 26th Governorship was the welcome dinner hosted by you in this very room on 27 August, only a month after my being sworn in.
Your hosting that dinner reflected the very warm relationship we developed while I was Chief Justice, and your much valued respect for the office of Governor, for which I sincerely thank you.
And here we are again, 3 months later!
Not even a momentous G20 meeting could disrupt the Consular Corps’ tradition of being one of the first groups in Brisbane to hold a Christmas function. I am grateful to the Corps for giving us this timely reminder of Christmas – a full twenty-eight shopping days in advance.
Not every country represented in the Queensland Consular Corps celebrates Christmas.
But all cultures represented have a time of year reserved for family and friends and a break from the hectic pace of the previous twelve months. In that respect, we are all able to share in the spirit of the festive season.
The many cultures which do celebrate Christmas feature a variety of dates on which Christmas presents are given.
I am told that if you arrange your international travel schedule carefully, you can be somewhere in the world where presents are given every day between early December and early January.
There is an even greater variety of Christmas traditions among the countries represented here tonight, from drinking “monkey’s tail” in Chile, to the intriguingly named Christmas Goat in Finland, from Santa Lucia’s day in Sweden and Norway, to – you may say “of course” – a barbie on the beach in Australia.
All of those traditions share and enjoy a spirit of goodwill and generosity, and a sense of optimism and hope. And at their centre is a joyous event of the utmost significance to hundreds of millions of Christians around the world – the birth of a child to a family of modest means far from home.
In that marvellous spirit of the season, I reaffirm my great respect and admiration for the work you so valuably accomplish – in binding our cultures together! Kaye and I wish you all a happy Christmas spent in the company of loved ones, a relaxing break, and a happy and prosperous 2015. Thank you all!