Reception and Presentation of Australian Institute of International Affairs (Queensland) Awards
Members of the Queensland Consular Corps; Australian Institute of International Affairs, Queensland, President, Mr Geoffrey Ewing; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I warmly welcome back to Government House today a group of Queenslanders – and honorary Queenslanders – who are closely engaged with Australia’s role in the international community.
Even State Governors fall into this category from time to time! With visits to the UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Israel this year, Kaye and I have been involved in strengthening our State’s relationships with these countries, with an emphasis in most cases on sports diplomacy. That is related, of course, to the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast just four months from now. Yes, four months!
Foreign affairs and trade issues used to be thought of as the concern of a small cadre of experts. If that were ever true, it was many decades ago. It is certainly not the case now.
Developments inside and outside our borders impinge on our everyday lives, from local jobs created by export markets to the security awareness we need while travelling.
Now, as always, Australia benefits from quality, informed debate on these matters. And this requires an informed and active group in the Australian community that is seized of the importance of international affairs.
The AIIA has a very long and admirable history of encouraging enhanced community engagement with our international relationships. And of engaging vigorously in its own right in discussion and debate on Australia’s foreign policies.
Part of that encouragement takes the form of awards. Today’s awards acknowledge outstanding contributions to international relations, and provide scholarships that encourage the study of international relations by younger Queenslanders.
While on the subject of the next generation, I make a particular point today of acknowledging the interns who work with AIIA Queensland.
You are the future of that informed and active group I mentioned earlier. I encourage you all to take every advantage of your internship to hone your foreign relations skills, and I wish you every success in your future careers.
I look forward to presenting today’s awards and scholarships in a short while and to congratulating the recipients personally.
For now, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank and congratulate AIIA Queensland, and all who support these awards and scholarships, for their valuable contributions to our country’s vital international relations.