Reception for Delegates to the 2014 Royal Society of the Commonwealth Conference
By His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia: It is with great delight and pleasure that Kaye and I welcome to this evening’s reception, at Government House, Queensland, Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, President of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC). Thank you, Ma’am, for honouring us this evening with your gracious presence, and also for your complementary words highlighting Queensland’s agricultural prowess, and the resilience of our people, during your Conference address yesterday.
I also acknowledge and welcome representatives of Her Royal Highness’ Australian Patronage organisations, from the Royal Australian Corps of Transport, Royal Australian Corps of Signals, Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia, Save the Children and the Australian Veterinary Association. Kaye and I are very pleased to provide you with the opportunity to engage with your Patron.
Ladies and gentlemen, we warmly welcome you all this evening to Queensland, to Brisbane, and to Government House.
Representing Her Majesty The Queen in this State, and currently as Administrator of the Commonwealth, I take particular pride in hosting you all this evening.
We all know that Her Majesty has provided unstinting support and encouragement to the Commonwealth and its constituent bodies over many decades. Indeed, Australia has played, and continues to play, a prominent role in the deliberations and activities of the Commonwealth.
I am honoured to be Patron of Queensland’s premier agricultural show organisation, the Royal National Association (RNA).
Its President, the Honourable David Thomas, is also Deputy President the RASC. The RNA’s Chief Executive, Brendan Christou, will have been prominent at the Conference. He becomes very well known to Queenslanders every August as the RNA stages its superb Exhibition.
Now it would be presumptuous of me to speak at any length on the importance of agriculture to a group already wholly seized of that view. However, a comment on the RASC may be in order.
Member countries are located in the great majority of climatic zones in which agriculture is pursued on our planet.
Some regions like Queensland are actually large enough to cover several such zones. Two hours’ drive to the west of here are uplands where there are frequent frosts in winter and where temperate climate crops thrive, including the wine grapes that helped fill many a glass here this evening.
But about two hours flying time to the north, there are tropical rainforests and locations which receive an average annual rainfall of over four thousand millimetres, or one hundred and sixty inches; a diverse State!
Clearly there is strength in the RASC’s great diversity. There is also great opportunity, in the cooperative spirit set out in the Commonwealth Charter, to share practices, ideas and innovations that may be applicable to other agricultural environments.
Looming large among the common interests of members is that of promoting agriculture, especially through shows.
I am assuming David Thomas and Brendan Christou will have already vaunted to delegates at length about our own magnificent show, known affectionately as the “Ekka”. If not, please let me know because I have a 30-minute speech on that subject in reserve.
I know the Conference is well under way, and that exchanges of information, knowledge and experience on these issues are already in train. On that positive note, I wish delegates a productive and stimulating conference, one which generates many new contacts, and many ideas for delegates to take home, assess and, in one form or another, implement.
In the meantime, please take full advantage of our warm Queensland hospitality and enjoy a taste of the agricultural riches of our wonderful State. Thank you.