Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony (E) for Residents of Queensland
Ms Jennifer Howard MP representing the Premier; official guests; and our recipients and their proud families. Good morning. It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Government House, and to this important ceremony. I additionally welcome our friends who are “livestreaming” today’s ceremony.
The citations for bravery honours and awards invariably leave me in awe of the selflessness of the women and men who have put their lives in danger, in hazardous or perilous circumstances, to intervene or to go to the aid of others.
That sense of awe, I know, is shared by others who, like me, have never known the experience of that irretrievable, split-second commitment to action that each of our awardees has made.
Our language is simply not adequate when it comes to describing either the actions themselves or the admiration we feel.
The very names of our bravery decorations reflect that inadequacy with the result that we are left with the ancient tradition and symbolism of titles such as the Cross of Valour and the Star of Courage.
Earlier this week, I presented a Star of Courage to the descendants of a young Queensland airman who died, seventy-one years ago, when he deliberately directed his plummeting aircraft into a field to avoid crashing into a sleeping village. To say the Star was awarded ‘for an act of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril’ is barely sufficient to describe such an extraordinary action.
This morning, we have twenty-two other Queenslanders whose actions equally defy adequate description or response: pursuing armed offenders; preventing a woman from jumping to her death; searching for survivors in a burning building; dealing with the threat of an explosive device; going to the rescue of people in waterways and flood-waters ... each act is truly extraordinary.
As the personal representative of Her Majesty The Queen in our State, it has been an honour to present these decorations on her behalf, and it is also a distinct privilege to meet the exceptional Queenslanders who have received their honours and the proud family members, colleagues and friends they have invited to share this special occasion with them today.
I congratulate and thank the recipients, on behalf of all Queenslanders, and look forward to speaking to you all at the reception immediately after this ceremony.
There is additional significance to this ceremony – twenty-one of the twenty-two recipients currently serve or have served with our police. And they are joined here today by a potential future colleague: some of you have already met him, others shortly will - current Government House resident, our trainee police recruit dog, Gavel.
Because Gavel is now only a three-month-old pup, his duties are confined to greeting guests and sleeping but, when he grows into his very large paws in about a year’s time, he will return to the Dog Squad to complete his training.
As a full member of the Dog Squad, his courage and bravery may well be tested in circumstances similar to those we’ve heard described this morning.
We have every hope that he will live up to his name and be of great assistance in the dispensation of justice, and that he becomes as great an asset to our State and our community as the Officers and civilians we have honoured today.