Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony for Residents of Far North Queensland
Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP – here today as an official guest, and, if I may, I suspect also as a proud son!; Rob Pyne MP; the Honourable Warren Entsch MP; Assistant Commissioner; distinguished guests; and our esteemed recipients and their wonderfully supportive families and friends.
I at once, with respect to Elders, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands around Cairns.
As Governor of Queensland, and the representative of our Head of State, Her Majesty The Queen, I undertake many important constitutional, ceremonial and community duties, by way of a few recent examples: last month I was here in Cairns opening the impressive Munro Martin Parklands facility; a few days before that, representing Queenslanders at the Vietnam Veteran’s Day Remembrance Service at Brisbane’s ANZAC Square, 50 years on from the significant Battle of Long Tan; and a week before that, receiving the writ with the name of a newly elected member of the Queensland Parliament.
Of all my duties, the one in which I take the greatest pleasure is acknowledging Queenslanders who make extraordinary, and sometimes extraordinarily brave, contributions to our communities, by presenting them with Australian honours and awards.
Australia’s honour system is respected for its integrity, and it is democratic: the fourteen Queenslanders to whom I have just presented awards and honours were nominated by their peers –their fellow citizens.
And it is through the attention to detail, the ceremonial turnout including of the 1-RAR Band, and the rich history imbued with these ceremonies, that Kaye and I seek very much to meet the wider community’s gratitude for the beneficial contributions of our recipients.
And the highly diverse citations we have just heard reflect true vibrancy and cohesiveness within our Far North Queensland communities.
And so today we have acknowledged a former school teacher, turned politician, who variously represented the constituents of Mulgrave in our Parliament for 17 years, including many years as a Minister of State.
There are emergency services personnel – police officers, and from the rural fire brigade, already highly respected members of our communities – who have gone above and beyond their professional duties, including, as did Sergeant Van Egmond, in perilous circumstances.
There is excellence recognised, too, in other professions, including in the public service – in environmental management and at an executive level; in the law; to education; in the performing arts space; and to history, especially, and very significantly, to the preservation and understanding of our State’s enriching Indigenous heritage.
Others still have devoted decades to serving their communities in voluntary and benevolent capacities, including by supporting those down on their luck and deserving of our compassion.
The awards and honours I have just presented tangibly recognise these meaningful contributions – and to our recipients I say, wear your medals with pride, however humbled you may feel; may your worthy recognition inspire others!
It is a source of additional pride for Kaye and me that we could come to you, here to Cairns, for this important ceremony.
We hope you see it very much as reflecting the high esteem we hold for all the people of this dynamic tropical city, and the Far North region.
Thank you, and please enjoy the hospitality on offer today as Kaye and I continue to channel the gratitude the people of Queensland express for you all.