Honours and Awards within the Australian Honours System Investiture Ceremony (B) for Residents of Queensland
Representing the Premier, Mr Jessica Pugh MP; Representing the Leaders of the Opposition, Mr Stephen Bennett MP; Senior Defence Force representatives, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I begin at once by acknowledging the traditional owners of Brisbane, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and express my respect to their Elders.
It is always a great pleasure for Kaye and me to welcome guests to Government House for Investiture Ceremonies such as this one, where I have the privilege of presenting our fellow Queenslanders with the honours they have been awarded under Australia’s honours system.
The Australian Honours System is unusual in that any Australian citizen can nominate any other Australian citizen for an Order of Australia honour.
That is a wondrously democratic element of these awards – and very Australian – but moreover, it reflects the fact that each of you are here today because your communities, your colleagues and your peers – those who know you thoroughly, those who know you best – believe that you have met the onerous standard of someone who has truly advanced Australia, and decided to nominate you for these awards.
The process of assessing these nominations is rigorous: referees reports are requested for each nominee, and each nomination is reviewed and approved by an eminent group of 18 Australians on the Council for the Order of Australia, before being sent to the Governor-General for final approval.
Today, there are twelve people with us who will receive either Order of Australia honours in the Military Division or service decorations: the Distinguished Service Medal, the Conspicuous Service Cross, and the Conspicuous Service Medal.
Just as nominations for Order of Australia honours are administered through the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat in the Office of the Governor-General, the nominations for service decorations are scrutinised and assessed through the Directorate of Honours and Awards in the Department of Defence and are approved by the Minister of Defence before being forwarded to the Governor-General.
Honours and decorations represent the highest recognition that our country can give to an Australian citizen. We give honours to recognise, celebrate and say thank you to those who make a difference, those who achieve their best and those who serve others.
It is not enough to have achieved mightily on your own behalf: to be awarded these honours and decorations you must have demonstrated the values that Australians hold dear – compassion, civility, dedication, courage, kindness, tolerance and energetic ambition. In short, your award recognises that you have made Australia a better place in which to live, and you are a source of motivation to us all.
Each of you comes from different backgrounds and different field of endeavour. Some of you are civilians; others come from our Defence Force and service organisations.
What all of you have in common is that you have earned this honour, the esteem of your peers and the enduring gratitude of your community. The symbols of that esteem are your medals and lapel pins, and the postnominals to which you are now entitled. I entreat you to wear your beautiful medals, rich in the symbolism of Australia, and use the postnominals to which are now entitled.
Doing so is not a show of pride or boastfulness; it is a way of acknowledging the deepest appreciation of your community, and also for your community to demonstrate to others the values we truly cherish.
On behalf of the people of Queensland, on whose behalf I am privileged to speak, I congratulate all of today’s recipients on the honours they have received. I hope you, your families, friends and colleagues can join us for refreshments after the ceremony, and look forward to speaking with each of you.