Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma 20th Anniversary Reception
On this very day in nineteen-eighteen, the guns of the Western Front in the First World War fell silent. With that first step towards peace, the world hoped this truly was ‘the war to end all wars’.
Sadly, the ensuing century has seen a global proliferation of conflict and violence between nations, between tribes, and between individuals.
This has led, of course, to countless deaths, but, more importantly, in the context of today’s event, it has produced millions of people who have survived the trauma of those experiences.
In the course of my long career in Law, I saw many of those innocent survivors.
It was an experience that prompted me to accept the invitation from the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma to become their Patron when I was Queensland’s Chief Justice, and to support initiatives such as the Refugee Civil Law Clinic.
The experience also meant that I did not hesitate when invited to renew my patronage last year when I was appointed as Governor.
Equally, I was very pleased and humbled to receive the invitation to join you this evening for this important twentieth anniversary celebration.
That announcement would lead to the establishment of QPASTT and several of its partner organisations, all of which are dedicated to providing appropriate and accessible services for Queenslanders from non-English speaking backgrounds.
In the ensuing twenty years, QPASTT has grown from a very small organisation with just three staff to a major service provider with more than sixty employees.
The statistics are remarkable: some two thousand people are supported across twelve locations in Queensland; collectively, they speak more than fifty languages; they come from more than seventy different ethnic backgrounds — and QPASTT staff themselves represent more than thirty-five different ethnicities.
It is a great Queensland success story and I congratulate and thank all concerned on reaching this significant milestone in the provision of this vital service.