Government House Official Christmas Reception
Members of the Executive Council; the 22nd Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Leneen Forde; elected representatives; Your Honours; senior members of the Australian Defence Force; religious leaders; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you all to Fernberg for this, our 2018 Christmas reception.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay respect to their Elders past and present – with encouragement to their young emerging leaders.
While we are here at Government House to celebrate the festive season, and to acknowledge another busy, rewarding and highly successful year for Queensland, we must first pause to pay tribute to the men and women who continue to engage in recovery efforts following unprecedented bushfires across our vast and challenging State.
Through drought, and now fire, our characteristic State spirit – that spirit of resilience and optimism, of care and compassion – is a spirit truly engrained in our communities.
During this time of year we also pause to reflect and thank those Queenslanders who will continue to serve and support the State throughout the festive season – those in the emergency services and the Australian Defence Force.
These courageous, altruistic Queensland men and women continue to put themselves at the front line of relief and support efforts, and we are all very proud of their selflessness, their commitment, and their dedication, during trying and debilitating conditions. They have our wholehearted gratitude.
Kaye and I have once again been most privileged to experience that Queensland spirit first-hand, during another very busy Vice-Regal year.
Highlights have included the opening of the 56th Parliament; support to a very successful Queensland-led 21st Commonwealth Games; promotion of Queensland business, investment, cultural and educational links in China; representing all Queenslanders at commemorations to mark the Centenary of the First World War Armistice in London and France; and most recently, the first official visit to Thailand by an Australian Governor, again to promote trade, investment and cultural links.
This year also included visits to 42 regional centres; 616 events, including 248 here at Government House; 119 regional events; and four members of the Royal Family staying at Fernberg.
We met hundreds of marvellous Queenslanders from all walks of life, and they shared with us, inspirationally, their accounts of the challenges facing our communities.
And this characterises Kaye’s and my experience of this Vice-Regal role – our challenge is to deliver encouragement and inspiration commensurately in return.
And in keeping with the theme of meeting, encouraging, uplifting and thanking as many Queenslanders as possible, we are on the cusp of welcoming thousands of people, including many children, to enjoy our captivating Christmas Lights – at their Government House.
It has been a very busy year, and that is as it should be; for our objective here is to serve the people, throughout the State, in many ways – with the assistance of our wonderful staff, and to do so continually and as actively as we possibly can.
Kaye and I look forward to 2019 with great enthusiasm and heartfelt encouragement for all our communities.
Our many encounters with our fellow Queenslanders are invariably engaging and inspirational, and I hope that spirit may imbue all your relationships at this wonderful time of the year.
In thanking you all most warmly for your overwhelming support in 2018, Kaye and I wish you a very merry Christmas and a most fulfilling, safe and happy 2019.