Afternoon Tea in Support of the New Zealand Community
High Commissioner, Heads of Churches and religious communities, Consul-General, ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I welcome you all most warmly to Government House – a welcome made even warmer by the High Commissioner’s heartfelt and moving words, for which we thank Her Excellency.
And I would also like to sincerely thank Archdeacon Anderson for his uplifting prayer and for joining us today with choristers from the Brisbane Anglican Maori Mission.
Our quite deliberate focus today is to honour Australia’s long-standing, and invaluable ties with our good friends and neighbours in New Zealand, built on many decades of great mutual goodwill.
Indeed, few other countries could boast a relationship so close that among our most serious bilateral disagreements is the origin of a meringue-based dessert, the pavlova.
This cross-Tasman bond was already strong in the 19th century, but one of its defining moments was indisputably our involvement as allies, indeed much more than allies, in World War One.
Both of our countries were different then. Both have changed dramatically across the ensuing decades.
One of the many positive changes we share is the enrichment of our countries and communities by migrants seeking what migrants have always sought – tolerance, a place to raise their families, an opportunity to contribute to their new home.
Nearly three weeks ago, in an act of cowardice, a shocking, senseless and brutal terrorist act, one individual tried to shatter the bonds that make our communities strong by taking fifty innocent lives.
As I wrote to the Governor-General of New Zealand soon after the event, Queenslanders and New Zealanders have united in grief and sadness.
We continue to hold in our thoughts and hearts the loved ones of those lost. We continue in our unwavering support for the New Zealand community.
But we also express our deep admiration for New Zealanders’ resilience and determination, a determination to commit anew to the values that we the people of both countries hold dear – tolerance chief among them.
Today, together, we join the many thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who have gathered in cities and towns all over both countries to reaffirm those values and to reinforce our close and abiding ties.
There are many ways to express those sentiments, but we have agreed on a simple and direct way of doing so today – with that stirring symbol of pride and unity, the New Zealand National anthem, led for us today by the choristers from the Brisbane Anglican Maori Mission.