9 September (am) - Honours and Awards under the Australian Honours System
Kaye and I welcome warmly to Government House today recipients of awards under the Australian honours system, their proud families, friends and colleagues, and our special guests.
To the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, who have traditionally been the custodians of the lands around Brisbane, I at once extend respectful greetings.
This is an important day for everyone here and for the broader community. This is the third such ceremony Kaye and I have had the pleasure of hosting this week, here in this magnificent setting at Fernberg. We are, indeed, privileged to call this gracious residence our home for the time being. However, Fernberg really is the ‘people’s house’, and we genuinely enjoy sharing it with you, our wonderful fellow Queenslanders.
Kaye and I have also discovered, much to our satisfaction, that the entire Government House team take investitures very seriously, and everybody strives to ensure Government House and its beautiful gardens are looking their absolute best.
And Government House should be at its best on these occasions, because on days like today it arguably hosts Queensland’s best – people who make determined choices to live their lives in an extraordinary manner; Queenslanders who refuse to let the drudgeries of life muffle their roar; and those who inspire us for they have not been paralysed by self-doubt.
These are lofty statements, indeed, but they are worthy nonetheless. Because today, these recipients are being recognised through the Australian honours system, the pre-eminent way we acknowledge the achievements and service of our fellow citizens.
To receive an honour, someone has to nominate you. And in nominating you, your peers have recognised that you have roared and lived your life in a notable and distinguished way. This is a truly remarkable endorsement.
Australian honours are given without fear or favour, and are only awarded after nominations undergo thorough and rigorous scrutinising. Once received by the Honours Secretariat in Canberra, which is attached to the Office of the Governor-General, nominees are checked against referees and considered by the Council of the Order of Australia, who recommends appointees directly to the Governor-General. This process applies to all of the Australian honours invested here at Government House.
A common characteristic of honours recipients is humility – most are not household names and have no wish to be, and, indeed, many of you may harbour trepidation about being here today to receive public recognition. However, I urge you to indulge a little, and to, respectfully, put your humility to one side and embrace today.
I also issue you a challenge: just as one of your fellow citizens has sought to recognise your efforts, why not nominate someone, who in your estimation, is also worthy? Individuals nominating their peers - this is the engine room of the Australian honours system.
Today’s awards live beyond this ceremony – they are permanent, and they are given in recognition of your extraordinary contributions, so wear the awards often, and wear them with pride. There are some in the community who will be curious about the “badges of honour” you are now entitled to wear and the post-nominals you are entitled to use, and who will be inspired by the story they are able to tell. It would be an even greater service to the community if your example encouraged others to follow in your footsteps.
Kaye and I look forward to offering you all some warm and welcoming Government House hospitality on this special and important occasion as a token of our own gratitude and esteem for the “very best of Queensland” at Government House today. Thank you.