Defence Reserves Support Council Queensland Employer Support Awards
I acknowledge senior representatives of our service organisations, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to join you at this important event, not only as Governor but also a former member of the Citizen Military Forces – the CMF – in which I served for five years during my time at the University of Queensland some decades ago.
The CMF was a precursor to Australia’s Army Reserve, and I am acutely conscious of the important role all reservists play in our armed forces, in peace and in war, at home and abroad.
By definition, reservists serve part-time. About six thousand in Queensland, I understand, are employees in our State’s private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
Part-time, however, should not be interpreted as “occasional”.
All reservists have substantial obligations to participate in training, exercises, and in times of emergency, such as assisting local communities during the terrible floods in our State in 2011, or more recently, post-Cyclone Marcia.
The attitude of current and prospective employers to these obligations is crucial.
Not every employer is in a position to meet the leave requirements of reservists. However, it is of great importance that those who are adopt and maintain the most reserves-friendly recruitment and employment policies possible.
In that way, employers make a laudable contribution to the strength and readiness of our armed forces.
But the benefits flow both ways, as I know from personal experience.
Through their defence training and experience, reservists acquire skills and self-confidence that contribute substantially to any workplace.
Once more, this year, the Defence Reserves Support Council publicly recognises outstandingly supportive Queensland employers through its Employer Support Awards.
Of course, the 2015 awards coincide with the centenary of Gallipoli. I thank the Council and all those involved in acknowledging this anniversary with the “Light Horse” theme chosen for this ceremony, especially since the Light Horse served at Gallipoli – as depicted in Peter Weir’s film of the same name – well before their more famous action at Beersheba in 1917.
I thank the Defence Reserves Support Council for its continuing and invaluable assistance to both reservists and their employers in our State.
I look forward to presenting an award shortly, but I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank and congratulate all today’s award winners for their marvellous support of our Defence Reserves.