The Brisbane Club 2015 Governor’s Dinner
Ladies and Gentleman, Kaye and I are most pleased to be with you once again at this annual event of our wonderful Club – a Club which is long standing and progressive; a Club constituted by great Queensland achievers.
How times flies! This is already our second “Governor’s Dinner’. It has been an interesting twelve months for Kaye and me, indeed for everyone here.
We’ve seen the recent developments in national politics of course, but the 2015 Queensland State election was very much closer to home in every way.
As a relatively new Governor then, I was called upon to decide, in light of the facts and constitutional principle, who, according to the people’s will, should be invited to form a government.
I spoke about that experience in July this year – at highly unusual length for me – as I marked my first year as Governor, and we were pleased that some of you were there at Fernberg that night: thank you for your patience! The summary is: our constitutional arrangements worked well.
One of the underlying themes of my discourse in July was that Governors are in a unique position to be “purveyors of positivity”.
Now I do not mean, by that, turning a blind eye to misfortune, or to issues which must be challenged head-on, as with my recent statement urging a community-wide response to domestic violence and my opening anti-poverty week this coming Sunday which will highlight the issues of poverty and hardship in our midst.
I mean, instead, that Queenslanders have a great deal to be positive about, and that this should regularly be acknowledged.
Kaye and I encounter, almost on a daily basis, the tremendous amount of good being done, selflessly, in communities by people all over our State, from the large cities to the smallest of townships.
For instance, not infrequently I present Order of Australia awards to individuals who are involved in just about every community activity going on in their district – historical societies, aged care, junior sport, the RSL, the local church, the arts, and organisations like Rotary, to name a few. As with a probably misguided attempt at wryness I suggested to one such recipient two weeks ago: “You’ll have to try harder!” Her contribution was beyond doubt impressive and exemplary.
And for every recipient of an award, there are so many others working quietly in their communities in similar ways. Many willingly support these days those suffering in communities affected by devastating drought: when will it end? These wonderful people are the sinews of our communities, building and renewing reserves of decency, strength and resilience among their fellow Queenslanders.
Kaye and I frequently encounter the marvellous achievements of Queenslanders in many fields and there is continual inspiration for the young. Most recently on Wednesday last we joined the Club’s President on the Q150 steam train with 45 Murri School students, as we travelled Roma Street/Yeerongpilly and return, including the Vice-Regal Carriage. How enlivening was the response of those bright young Queenslanders!
It is wonderful also to observe all of this from the outside, as we did during recent trips to Hong Kong and Korea. Like earlier official overseas travel, this gave us an opportunity to highlight the attractions of Queensland as a trade and investment partner, as a tourism and education destination, as a partner in research and development and in the arts, and those to whom we spoke were most receptive. We saw this again yesterday at Government House, at a Premier’s Export Awards Reception.
The “pitch” is very strong because we have such a marvellous story to tell. And Nigel Chamier will I know be telling that story over and over again, with increasing intensity, in the lead up to 2018! We were delighted that Nigel could join us on Wednesday night at Government House at a formal dinner in support of Queensland Sport.
Individually and collectively, members of this Club are part of all of that marvellous, living Queensland story – in business and industry, the professions, in public service, academia, and philanthropy. And thinking back to just last night at Government House, our marvellous Queensland Ballet might be in your philanthropic sights!
This Club is itself essentially founded on positivity – camaraderie, mutual respect, and a commitment to excellence. People helping each other. I take the opportunity to congratulate successive Committees and Presidents on assuring the Club’s continuing attractiveness to a large and inclusive membership.
Kaye and I have been the fortunate recipients of your generosity on many occasions and your welcome tonight in Brisbane reflects the welcome we have regularly been afforded State-wide, since we took up this privileged vice-regal role in July last year.
Thank you all for your support of our wonderful Club, for this vice-regal office, and for our great State of Queensland.