2015 Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony
My wife Kaye and I are greatly honoured to join you today on this historic and significant occasion. I at once acknowledge the Wulgurukaba and Bindal people, whose traditional connection to this region goes back thousands of years.
Today’s ceremony is historic, in that this is the first time the official flag raising ceremony has been held in Townsville.
Significant, because in 2015 our nation commemorates 100 years since Australians, including many Indigenous Australians, fought and died in the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War; a war in which Townsville, and thousands of North Queenslanders, played a significant role.
As Governor, I have the distinguished honour, on behalf of everyone in our State, of recognising the efforts of those Queenslanders whose contributions have nurtured the estate of our modern national character.
This is, above all, the essence of Australia Day: a time of reflection and celebration on what it means to be a Queenslander and an Australian.
We remember and cherish the ancient teachings, enduring wisdom and resilience of our Indigenous peoples.
We acknowledge the gumption of the pioneers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who laid the foundations for modern Queensland (particularly, in this significant year of military commemoration, the foundations of our garrison cities like Townsville).
We try, where possible, collectively, to shoulder the burdens of our fellow Queenslanders during times of despair, particularly during natural disaster.
As citizens of this peace-loving nation, the culmination of this, and our chief attendant obligation, is to ensure that being ‘Australian’ remains a shared privilege.
It is our shared privilege to enjoy equality of opportunity, and in the application of the law; to have the reassurance that we all have the ability to make choices without fear, and in the face of opposing views; and to appreciate the reality that all our fellow countrymen and women have access to the comfort and connectedness that accompanies our trademark sociability, which is not bound by class or race.
What we treasure as Australians – our shared common purpose – spans the many cultures and beliefs of the modern national mosaic.
This flourishes when we assert responsibility for the tone of the society in which we want to live.
As Governor, I thank Queenslanders for the positive contributions you make each day to each other, to our State, and to our Nation. I am particularly pleased to be doing that today, in this wonderful part of the State.
May I, finally, congratulate members of the Australian Defence Force for their turnout and drill here today. You men and women have favoured this parade with the highest standard of impeccable ceremonial presentation.
That augurs well for the security of our nation. And especially on this day, it inspires us all to continue to discharge, as well as we can, our important obligations as citizens of this remarkable nation of which we are so proud.