Reception for RAAF Chaplains Attending the 2016 Branch Conference
Kaye and I warmly welcome to Government House this evening, RAAF Chaplains from many parts of Australia attending the 2016 Branch Conference in Brisbane, their valued support staff, and other distinguished guests.
Even among members of the clergy, who selflessly devote their lives to their communities, becoming a chaplain in Australia’s armed forces seems a special calling.
As serving members of the armed forces themselves, military chaplains provide this ministry from a unique position. They share in the pride and traditions of service in our military, and in the ethos, the mateship, that has sustained Australians on active service for over a century.
Chaplains are called on to meet the everyday spiritual needs of their flock in an environment that can amplify the stresses and strains of everyday life.
They must also be ready to support and comfort serving men and women and their families through terrible loss and grief, and through the damage to mind and spirit for which we now have a name and a heightened awareness – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The fact that RAAF personnel are currently on active service in the Middle East is a reminder that the pressures on our serving men and women, and the dangers they face, are anything but hypothetical.
That the RAAF chaplains here this evening have chosen to take on this ministry is testament to their deep faith, and to their commitment to the well-being of those who serve their country in the Australian Defence Force.
Yours is an admirable and highly respected calling that, by serving our armed forces, ultimately serves the whole Australian community.
As Governor, recently returned from commemorations of the terrible battles of the Western Front in which Australians fought a century ago, and speaking for all Queenslanders, I thank you most sincerely for the generosity, compassion and dedication you display as chaplains in the RAAF.
I wish you a productive, enjoyable and inspiring Conference, and enjoyable evening as our guests here at Government House.