Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony (C) for Residents of Queensland
Mr Lawrence Springborg MP, Leader of the Opposition; official guests; and our recipients and their proud supporters. Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to this historic and beautiful house – a kind of home office for us, albeit a grand one.
It is a place that our extended families visit as often as possible, and that our grandchildren – and for the time being police recruit dog Gavel! – enjoy as a very big, very Queensland back yard.
But it is also the formal residence and office of the Governor of Queensland, a place where Ministers are sworn in and election writs are issued, where members of the Royal Family stay from time to time, and where a substantial number of formal receptions and dinners take place.
The ceremony we have just witnessed is certainly in the “formal” category, and that is deliberate.
The formality – and the fact today’s ceremony is being “livestreamed” – emphasises the importance of the awards, and our respect and admiration for awardees and their achievements.
This house plays an important role in the ceremony. It offers an excellent ceremonial space like this, but is not overwhelming in size and scale. The fact that it was a private home for the first 45 years of its 150-year history may have helped strike that ideal balance.
It is a house – along with its splendid grounds – that puts on its best face on very special occasions. And today’s ceremony is certainly in that category.
Today is special because we are we celebrating a group of Queensland residents whose contributions in their field have been judged, via a rigorous vetting process, to be deserving of prestigious national honours and awards.
And, in one sense, today is not only special but unique, because this group of “doers” and achievers is highly unlikely ever to be gathered in one place again.
Where else are we likely to see individuals prominent in the fields of tertiary education, social work and music education, rub shoulders with “firies”, emergency services personnel and paramedics who have served their communities with distinction.
In what other place are you likely to see a prominent figure in the Men’s Shed movement and a prominent contributor to charitable fundraising, share a space with a starter for major international athletics events, someone who has played a major role in the development of our mineral resources, and another individual committed to enhanced safety for cruise line passengers.
Where else are you likely to see, along a few rows of seats, individuals active in the fields of aged care, the visual arts, emergency medicine, surf lifesaving, supporting victims of crime, and supporting Meals on Wheels, topped off with an engineer who can tell us all about non-destructive testing!
It is that eclectic mix of people nominated, not by governments, but by any Australian who so wishes, that make our awards system different – and envied.
There is yet another reason why today is special: because it allows us, formally and informally, to say a heartfelt “thank you” to our awardees for the many and varied ways in which they have made our communities better places.
As Governor of this wonderful State, I have the privilege of speaking for all Queenslanders in congratulating our awardees on the honour conferred on them today, and in expressing our sincere thanks for their marvellous contributions to the well-being of Queenslanders right across the State.
I omitted to mention earlier to mention another advantage of this house, which is that it allows me, not only to say “thank you”, but also to follow up with some Government House hospitality, giving us all an opportunity to meet awardees in a less formal environment, and to share the pride and happiness of their families and friends.
Enjoy the day. We are honoured to share it with you. Thank you.