Reception for NAIDOC Week
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP; Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP; ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you to Fernberg this evening in recognition of NAIDOC Week, and I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples.
We are very pleased to have Minister Enoch with us this evening. I have heard the Minister speak inspirationally about our wonderful Indigenous heritage at two recent events – the Commonwealth Games, and later at the National Trust Heritage Awards. The Minister not only reminds us of issues of significance, but she inspires us.
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate indigenous achievement, and to acknowledge those outstanding individuals who will be recognised at the eagerly anticipated NAIDOC Awards Ceremony, this year held on Gadigal land in Sydney.
The 2018 theme, Because of Her, We Can!, is one that resonates throughout the community, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.
NAIDOC Week has been a fixture on the national calendar since 1975, and it is encouraging to see its reach extend ever further each year.
Part of the great opportunity as Governor is to visit people all around Queensland. That has included, over the past 4 years, many Indigenous communities, and we are to visit more during Regional Government House in August. These have been most enriching experiences for Kaye and me, and, we hope, for those we have been privileged to meet.
Last Saturday I was at the Out of the Box Festival at QPAC and I was reassured by the Indigenous focus, especially for very young people. Nothing is ever gained by over-stating things; but much can be lost by under-statement.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait original influences – which are not threads, but a seam – not only enrich us all, as we say so often, but go to define us; as with town and remote country.
We are here on this planet for but a short, rather evanescent, moment. But in that context we are simply and constantly amazed to realise this present civilization dates from so long ago. It was, then, a rich civilization, and still is.
And while we remain on our journey towards comparable advantage in our society, we should not, out of some sense of self-deprecation, forget the strides made over recent decades.
Kaye and I are honoured to note our direct association, familially, with Indigenous Queenslanders. In terms of progress, we do now have a District Court Judge in Queensland who is Aboriginal, and Kaye and I are so proud of our Indigenous granddaughter – whose other grandparents and great aunt are here this evening.
Symbolism also matters. My Kalkadoon didgeridoo from Mt Isa now rests in the Drawing Room of Government House, and the Aurukun dogs guard the front doors.
And this evening, beyond symbolism, we have you here. Thank you for joining us, as all of us commit ourselves to living together as mutually supportive Queenslanders – Australians, and as we work towards an even fairer, more just society.