Investiture Ceremony (E) for Residents of Queensland
Our valiant awardees, their proud families and friends, and official guests – Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to Government House.
Throughout the course of this week, I have the distinct honour of presenting more than 110 Queenslanders with honours and awards under the Australian honours system.
All of today’s recipients fall under a very special category: the Australian bravery decorations, through which our society seeks to recognise acts of bravery by members of our community.
As you have just heard, each of today’s recipients, regardless of the specific award received, have made a decided choice: to put their life in danger; to come to the aid of their fellow citizens in dire need.
These are dangers which would in us all arouse fear: fast moving oncoming traffic, burning vehicles, rapidly-rising floodwaters, raging oceans.
Our recipients confronted these challenges espousing the virtues – selflessness, resourcefulness, tenacity – which we would all hope to muster should ever we too be called upon to act.
There is additional significance to bestowing these awards this year.
Twenty-fifteen marks 40 years since the Australian bravery decorations were created by Letters Patent signed by Her Majesty The Queen in 1975, and 25 years since the creation within that system of the Group Bravery Citation (of which many of you today have received).
During those four decades, thousands of recipients have had their brave acts commemorated at meaningful ceremonies like today’s.
And while Queenslanders are reluctant I know to stand on ceremony, there are times when formality itself serves important purposes.
For today’s ceremony is significant both for our recipients and their loved ones, and for our wider community.
As a society, your actions reassure us. They are timely reminders that there are anonymous strangers in our communities who willingly, selflessly come to our aid in the face of peril.
We are of course prompted to ask of ourselves, would we do the same?
Your actions inspire confidence that we can. This augurs well for the cohesion of our society more generally.
On a personal level, through today’s ceremony, our society also acknowledges that your momentary acts of bravery can carry lifelong consequences, physical and psychological. And this can be true too for your loved ones.
And I commend the Australia Bravery Association – represented here today and of which anyone who receives a bravery or gallantry decoration is able to join, who aim to maximise the support available to those members in our community who conduct themselves bravely, and to those who thereby experience hardship.
Finally, I encourage our recipients to display their decorations often, and with pride.
Share with others the circumstances for which they have been awarded.
They are symbols of our society’s gratitude, and solemn recognition of the sanctity we place in our society on the preservation of life.
On behalf of fellow Queenslanders, thank you all once again. Kaye and I are truly honoured by your presence here today, and we look forward to meeting many of you during afternoon tea.