Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony (A) for Residents of Queensland
Ms Nikki Boyd and Mr Scott Emerson representing the Premier and Leader of the Opposition, official guests, our esteemed recipients, their proud families and friends. Good afternoon – a very warm welcome to you to Government House and to this Investiture Ceremony.
‘Investiture’ is an ancient word which first came into the English language in the fourteenth century when feudal lords bestowed fiefdoms or other rights and entitlements on their favoured subjects.
Today’s honours and awards do not come with rights to land or serfs to work it – and you certainly do not, in exchange, become vassals who have to go into battle on command.
However, the link with the mediaeval origins of ‘investiture’ has not entirely disappeared.
First, each of you has received an award which symbolises the gratitude and thanks of the nation for the contribution you have made to Australia.
Second, the award comes with an expectation, even an implicit obligation, that, as a recipient, you will uphold the integrity of the Australian honours system.
In that sense, you are going into battle – the battle for reputation.
The Australian honours system is respected and emulated throughout the world because of its integrity, impartiality, and egalitarianism of its processes, and is unique in that any person can nominate any other person for an award.
Some of you here today will know or suspect who may have nominated you, but none of us will ever know how many people have been approached to provide confidential comment as to why or why not an award should be given.
The net of enquiry is spread very wide and with great probity by the Honours Secretariat in the office of the Governor-General in Canberra and by the Directorate of Honours and Awards in the Department of Defence. No honour is automatic; no award is influenced by political or personal pressure; and regulations and confidentiality are strictly observed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to be suspicious of every past or present colleague, friend or family member – your being here today for this ceremony is evidence that they have provided full support for your nomination and, whether they are here as one of your guests or will remain unknown to you, I am sure they join me in congratulating and thanking you for the contribution you have made.
Today’s recipients, as you have heard, are remarkable men and women. Collectively, they have made an exceptional contribution to our nation, and Australian society has been greatly enriched by their commitment and dedication.
As Governor, I am privileged to speak on behalf of all Queenslanders, and in that capacity it gives me great pleasure to congratulate all of today’s recipients on their achievement.
There is one further piece of advice I would offer – do wear your lapel pin as often as possible and your ribbon and badge when circumstances permit. It is not a sign of boastfulness or hubris – it is a symbol, and a way of acknowledging those who nominated and supported you; it is also an important way to promote the honours system and to encourage others to nominate colleagues, friends and family members. And as today’s ceremony is being, as they say, “livestreamed”, I encourage you to wear it with pride!
Please enjoy this afternoon’s hospitality as a token of our gratitude. And I trust you’ll take the time to meet Fernberg’s latest addition – police recruit dog Gavel!