Order of Australia Association Queensland Branch Presentation of the 2016 Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards
It is a great pleasure for me to once again join you for the presentation of Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards and Community Service Certificates by the Queensland Branch of the Order of Australia Association.
I at once, with respect to Elders, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbul and Jagera peoples.
I have had the pleasure of presenting the Citizenship Awards every year since I was appointed Governor in 2014. The experience is always inspirational.
Today’s young awardees, from many schools, many parts of Queensland, and many backgrounds, have followed this excellent practical advice by an unknown author: Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.
That idea is not damning with faint praise the idea of being good.
But it is certainly a call to action, and each of today’s award recipients has responded. Each has spent significant time and energy in making his or her school and local community better places.
That would be admirable in any situation. It is all the more admirable because secondary school students in their final years of study have many calls on their time and attention – school itself, study, exams, recreation, friends, and family, with occasional breaks for eating and sleeping.
It takes real drive and no small degree of personal sacrifice to include school and community well-being on that crowded agenda – to put into practice the ideals of citizenship.
We can be confident that the habit of ‘doing good’ will stay with these young people for the rest of their lives.
That is, in part, because it is highly likely that today’s Student Citizenship and Community Service awardees have been influenced, for good, by the important adults in their lives.
There is even some indirect statistical support for that assertion. Surveys in Australia have found, for instance, that children of volunteers are more likely than the general population to become volunteers.
And it is, in large part, because it is inner motivation, and preparedness to put real effort into supporting others in the community, that have brought today’s wonderful young awardees here today.
Those qualities will prove invaluable when these young people find their vocation in life or, as sometimes happens, their vocation finds them.
Just as importantly, those qualities will continue to provide the inner sense of satisfaction that the great European philosopher and physician Albert Schweitzer had in mind when he said: ‘I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.’
In order to prosper, and to remain strong and resilient, our communities need these qualities. They need to be constantly revitalised and energised by the drive and passion of young people.
I thank the Order of Australia Association for highlighting and celebrating the activities and achievements of Queensland’s young people through these awards. That, too, is an important community service.
I thank the ‘important adults’ in the lives of today’s awardees for their generous encouragement and the fine example they have set.
I congratulate wholeheartedly the recipients of today’s awards and certificates. I commend all those who nominated, and all young people in Queensland who strive for the well-being of their communities.
You have shown how important you are to us today, and how important you will be to a better future. I thank you most sincerely for that.
On behalf of the people of Queensland, I wish you all the greatest of success in your future endeavours.