Defence Reserves Support Council Queensland Awards
Speech delivered as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:
I am very pleased to acknowledge senior defence representatives and members of the Defence Reserves Support Council with us here this evening.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to this magnificent residence, this year 150 years old.
Fernberg has over that long time taken on a rich military complexion, a proud succession of distinguished military Governors having lived here – including our first Australian-born Governor and true war hero Lieutenant-General Sir John Lavarack, his much respected successor Colonel Sir Henry Abel Smith, and much more recently Major General Peter Arnison. My Official Secretary Air Commodore Gower, now in his 7th year in that role, complements that established tradition.
It is a rich tradition which, for Kaye and me, reflects our own deep appreciation of all our public servants, and particularly tonight, our military service men and women, and our dedicated officers of the AFP and the QPS, and those of our emergency services.
These are wonderfully committed people who may daily encounter heightened risk and danger. May everyone unstintingly support them.
There is additional honour to our hosting you all here: until the Governor-General’s plane enters Australian airspace at 8:20pm today, I am Commonwealth Administrator and therefore your Commander-in-Chief.
This is an honour for Queenslanders, and it adds additional significance to tonight’s reception with its focus on the military.
Our Armed Forces perform an obviously crucial role in the maintenance of our society, nationally and globally.
The Reservists are integral to this, in conflict – which we reflect upon rightly intensively this significant Gallipoli centenary year; but also in peace-time.
This was conspicuously brought home to me by the palpable sense of relief which spread throughout the communities of the Capricornia Coast as the Defence Force contingent, led by Brigadier Noble including members of Townsville’s 3rd Brigade and Reservists from 11th Brigade, 31st/42nd Royal Queensland Regiment, rolled-in in the wake of Cyclone Marcia. I saw the Reservists interacting with the pressured locals, who welcomed them.
It is not just the community which benefits from this sort of service; there is ample concomitant personal reward, as I came to know from my own humble experience in the then Citizen Military Force (the precursor to the Army Reserves) some decades ago.
It was a period of service which I hope defined any better aspects of this person who went on to decades of public service in other areas, now at this highest level.
I am sure each of the three recipients of tonight’s honours will see the award as important acknowledgement of both personal and professional development.
The employers benefit immensely too, which brings me back to the Defence Reserves Support Council, which we directly acknowledge tonight.
Our Reservists are “part-time” in name only – they deserve constant gratitude and support. That comes from their families, whose support is indispensable and much appreciated; and their employers. Support from the public service is one important thing – from private employers, frankly, another. I warmly thank all employers who facilitate these engagements.
Kaye and I are honoured to provide this recognition tonight from our vice-regal position, and we thank wholeheartedly the Council for continuing to ensure employers and personnel obtain maximum benefit from Reserve service. There is no doubt about this: Reservist support has become vital to our national, global, and local, security. All who make it possible must be most generously acknowledged.
As your Governor and presently Administrator, I say thank you.