Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony for Residents of North Queensland
Parliamentarians; official guests; recipients and their wonderfully supportive families and friends. It is a great honour for Kaye and me to join you here in Townsville, the tenth visit since my being sworn in as Governor in July 2014.
I at once, with respect to Elders, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands around Townsville.
One of my most important duties as Governor of the State is to present awards and decorations to my fellow Queenslanders under Australia’s honours system.
That system has earned international respect for its independence and integrity in the four decades since it was established.
Its 57 awards have enabled us, as Australians, to nominate our fellow citizens for recognition for their achievements or service to our State, our nation.
Among the many awards in the system, the best known are the Order of Australia and the Australian Bravery Decorations, and it is a great honour for me, as the representative the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia, Her Majesty The Queen of Australia, to be in Townsville today to acknowledge the exceptional North Queenslanders who have received their awards and decorations today. I welcome you all.
An Investiture Ceremony such as this is our way to publically acknowledge the outstanding contribution the awardees have made to the community and to the nation, but it is also an intimate personal event shared with family and friends.
Part of that personal experience of an Investiture Ceremony for the recipients is that it prompts memories.
For those awardees who have contributed to the community through their service to charitable and community organisations or conservation, the memories will almost certainly be positive; they’ll be happy reminders of the steps along the way to their award and of the many people who have been part of that journey towards recognition. There is undoubted pride further still for those who have served our nation and communities in the Police and Defence Services.
By contrast, for those receiving bravery decorations, recalling or being reminded of the events that led to their award can be confronting and sometimes distressing, and I acknowledge the courage they have demonstrated in coming here today to receive their medals and commendations.
But whether you are here because you put your own life in jeopardy to help another or because you have dedicated a lifetime to a cause, a profession or the community, the ultimate reason for your being here today is that people have wanted to see you honoured and acknowledged for what you have done.
In nominating you or supporting your nomination, your fellow Australians believe that our nation and Australian society are stronger, kinder, more responsive and more cohesive because of what you have done.
For that reason, I ask you to wear your medals and lapel pins whenever possible. Doing this is not a statement of pride or vanity; it is a mark of respect and thanks to those who have nominated you or supported your nomination.
I also ask that you take the time to learn about the awards you have received and about the other fine Australians who have been honoured in this way.
I ask this because, today, you have joined a society of honour – an exceptionally diverse group of individuals who are our role models; the women and men who help us define our aspirations and ideals as a nation.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate and thank you for that and, above all, for making a difference.