2015 Christmas Reception
It is wonderful that you have joined Kaye and me here tonight; we are most grateful, as we are in a central way for the Indigenous contribution to our civilization, our humanity; oh for full reconciliation, for true equality of opportunity, for equal participation in the important services on which we all reasonably depend, and which our government seeks to provide. The quest is ongoing: it must not fall into quiescence.
Moving to less significant issues, I am told today marks precisely 500 days since my having been sworn in to this role on 29 July last year. I gather someone here is counting the days! I hope that person is thinking, like Kaye and me, that the time is passing just too quickly!
The continuing opportunity to interact with our fellow Queenslanders is, for us, simply uplifting.
We Queenslanders are big-hearted, generous, mutually supportive people, as Kaye and I are regularly reminded – as if we needed reminding, as we have travelled so extensively around the State, north, south, east, west, over the last 12 months – 47 regional visits over that period.
This is undoubtedly true: we Queenslanders look after each other, and we do so in a spirit of optimism.
Yet by the same token, we deal as best we can with some harsh realities: the externally imposed scourge of natural disaster, with so many in the State suffering nothing short of sociological change because of drought; the scourge, from within our midst, of domestic violence; also self-imposed, the scourges of unlawful drugs and all forms of rage; and the supervening need to be vigilant for those who sadly do not respect our core citizenship values of mutual support and decency.
Those important sentiments expressed, the overwhelming spirit of this season is, however, peace and goodwill – happiness for us all, and it is pervasive. Kaye and I see our fellow Queenslanders as people deeply committed to a prosperous community positively aligned, depending also as we do on those service men and women currently under deployment, and their wonderfully supportive families and friends.
Today we also, as it happens, mark the anniversary of Proclamation Day – 156 years on.
Now ladies and gentlemen, you excellently epitomise the great and enduring Queensland spirit, the spirit which inspired a colony and built a State; the spirit which over 156 years led a raw and humble body politic into 21st century sophistication; the spirit which has long-term drawn on the dual ideals of this grand season – peace and goodwill.
…and, I would add, happiness and exaltation – as will be experienced by the many thousands of girls and boys, mums and dads, grandmas and grandpas – and even, who knows, some of our fourth generation – who will pass through the gates of their 150 year old Fernberg, over the next 5 nights, for the Christmas Lights display… I say undoubtedly the best in Queensland, and that is as it should be!
A most deeply felt Merry Christmas, and thank you, to you all!