Defence Reserves Support Council 2016 State Employer Support Awards
Speech delivered by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC as Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia:
Senior representatives of our Defence and service organisations, and all Defence Reserves Support Council representatives. I was delighted to receive the invitation from your Chairman, Ms Margaret Goody, to join you this evening for the Defence Reserves Support Council’s annual State Employer Support Awards.
As Patron of the Queensland Council and of the Number 23 Squadron Association, and as Honorary Air Commodore of the City of Brisbane Squadron, Representative Colonel of the Royal Queensland Regiment, and a former Reservist myself, I have great personal affinity with the women and men in our Army Reserve. It is both a pleasure and an honour to have been invited to present these awards for the second time since my appointment as Governor of Queensland. And tonight I have the additional honour of supporting you all as Administrator of the Commonwealth.
My role as Governor is giving me an unprecedented opportunity to meet the wonderful people of our State.
In the process, both Kaye and I have developed great admiration and respect for another great ‘citizen force’ — the volunteers on which civil society in this nation is so dependant and to whom we all owe an enormous debt.
Only last week, we were by the Gulf of Carpentaria, visiting the communities of Karumba, Normanton, Burketown, and Doomadgee. These communities may have a combined population of only three and a half thousand people, but the sense of collective responsibility and the commitment that individuals make to those communities is remarkable.
Incidentally, we encountered in Karumba on a Sunday morning men of the 51st Battalion North Queensland Regiment, including Reservists, who were on a training exercise: that happened in between our feeding the baby barramundi at the Barramundi Discovery Centre and greeting, in support, officers of the Volunteer Marine Rescue at Karumba – again, volunteers!
Now, similarly, next week, I will be presenting Australians honours and awards to Queenslanders who have made an outstanding contribution to their communities or to our State or nation by selflessly giving their time and talents for the benefit of others.
And just two days ago, through our ANZAC Day commemorations, we remembered and honoured the ultimate acts of selflessness of those who died in the service of our nation.
My abiding sense that day was of the forces for good in our community: the dedicated serving personnel, the rightly proud veterans, their supportive families, the supporting organisations – Legacy, the Sallyman, the RSL, as but a few examples – and the community, many tens of thousands of them at the Dawn Service and the March, unhesitatingly generous in their support and gratitude.
And while we are rightly vigilant about evil forces in our communities, I have no doubt that good will prevail.
Tonight, we are celebrating yet another great story of altruism, of generosity, of commitment … of community — the State Employers Support Awards.
These awards stand as testimony to the dedicated efforts of the Defence Reserves Support Council to promote the Reserves, educate the community, and act as advocates for this vital citizen force.
They are also a public declaration of the commitment made by the Reservists themselves. But above all, they provide us, as Queenslanders, with an opportunity to thank the companies and organisations, large and small, for the important contribution they make to Australia by releasing valued staff to undertake training, participate in exercises, or respond in times of emergency.
This is an important and valued commitment by employers. These employees rightly acknowledge their public responsibility. They support the public interest. And more than a few of them would acknowledge that their employees return, often, with enhanced administrative and command skills. I personally found my CMF experience most beneficial in my own development. I am also extraordinarily grateful, as I know is Kaye, for the employers of my Honorary Aides-de-Camp, six of whom are drawn from the Reservists, and two from the Queensland Police. I am equally grateful to the ADCs themselves, and tonight I am attended to by Lieutenant (pron. Loo-tenant) Gail Rogers from the Royal Australian Navy, who, with her other hat on, is a registered nurse.
It is a therefore a privilege for me, on behalf of all Queenslanders, to be able tonight to commend the twenty-sixteen winners of the Employer Support Awards.
All four of them have made an outstanding contribution by supporting Reservists. It is important for us all to remember that they have been nominated, not by a remote selection panel, but by the Reservist employees themselves. It is recognition that Reservists can only meet their obligations if they have a supportive and understanding employer.
I look forward to presenting the awards, but now, on behalf of all Australians, as I do as Administrator, I congratulate the winners and once again thank the Reservists and the Council for their continued commitment to community and to our nation.