Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System - Investiture Ceremony (D) for Residents of Queensland
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House –our deserving awardees, our special guests, and the rows of proud faces right in front of me.
I at once acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbul and Jagera peoples, and extend respect to Elders past and present.
Having just heard the citations for today’s recipient of Australian honours and awards, I suspect you will understand why I consider these ceremonies to be celebrations of community.
Even in those instances where the word is not specifically mentioned, ‘community’ lies at the heart of the achievements and actions of each and every one of today’s awardees.
There are individuals who have contributed to community health in the areas of not-for-profit medical research, eye health, radiation treatment of cancers, and mental health.
Importantly, some of these marvellous achievements relate to communities in rural and remote areas of our State.
I acknowledge also awardees who have worked in the areas of human nutrition via contributions to the dairy industry, and human geography, which is in part the study of the interaction of communities.
Then we have awardees who have made marvellous contributions to communities via sailing, secondary education, local government, the management of higher education, and surf lifesaving.
And I note that a significant number of these awardees has also been active in organisations such as Rotary, the RSL, and in community sport.
We have several Rio Olympics and Paralympics gold medallists with us today.
They have thrilled us with their marvellous performances in what is the world’s most intensely competitive environment.
But they have also shown, as have all our Olympic athletes, the value of commitment, discipline and years of sheer hard work.
I come now to five individuals who have also served their communities in a different way.
In conditions of significant danger to themselves they have gone to the assistance of people in peril, whether from fire or drowning.
The citations send chills down my spine, and no doubt yours. That is all the more reason to keep an eye on their well-being, because these traumatic situations can leave a mark on the rescuers as well as the rescued.
What these courageous actions tell us is that we have the kinds of communities in which individuals are prepared to put their personal safety at risk to save a life. And that is surely the kind of community we want to live in.
Whether through a split second of bravery, years of hard training, or decades of selfless work, today’s awardees have helped build and maintain compassionate, robust and resilient communities.
We have seen, and continue to see communities like that in action since Cyclone Debbie devastated so many large areas of our State.
So, even for the most unassuming of awardees, today is your chance to bask in the great honour done to you today through the conferral of prestigious national honours and awards.
Speaking with great pride on behalf of all Queenslanders, it is my privilege to thank you for your dedication and generosity of spirit. And to extend Kaye’s and my heartiest congratulations to you and to the many in this room who have supported you.
Wear the symbols of your awards and honours proudly and often. Don’t think of it as showing off. Think of it as a way of inspiring others.
In any case, you can now say: the Governor made me do it.
This is your day. Enjoy it to the full! Thank you.