Official launch of The Salvation Army Brisbane Red Shield Appeal
Minister representing the Premier and Minister for Trade, the Honourable Coralee O’Rourke MP; the 25th Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and 24th Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce; Deputy Mayor and Lord Mayor Elect, Councillor Adrian Schrinner; leaders of the Salvation Army; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, including students.
I at once acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we gather, and pay respect to their Elders past and present – with encouragement to their young emerging leaders.
I am delighted to join you again on this red-letter day, Salvation Army red of course, in Brisbane’s calendar – Salvation Army red: I have done my best!
May I particularly again mention all the students present this morning, students who have volunteered to assist with the Appeal: they include, in no particular order, St James College, St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace, Anglican Church Grammar School, Brisbane Boys' College, Kelvin Grove State College, and St Laurence’s College.
Thank you students for serving your community in this important way, and today you represent many other young people who will willingly participate – to their great credit.
This event is timely, because Kaye and I have been in Townsville, Hughenden, Richmond and Julia Creek, and in Central Queensland recently, visiting communities severely affected by record-breaking floods, and last year’s fires, respectively.
And we have been travelling in drought-affected areas of our State for some considerable time. We always watch for rain in the West: thankfully there has at last been some.
These experiences have only deepened our appreciation, respect and admiration for the work of organisations providing support to communities that found themselves in the path of nature’s wrath – communities that are still experiencing distress and dislocation.
The extraordinary Queenslanders in these regions have shown remarkable, humbling resilience and determination, but they are not superhuman.
They are not immune to the trauma of having homes, lives and livelihoods destroyed or damaged.
Fortunately, they have not had to bear the burden alone.
Governments and community organisations rapidly mobilised people and resources to help these communities recover, the Salvation Army prominent among them.
Recently we hosted representatives of such organisations at a formal dinner at Government House – to thank them, on behalf of the people of Queensland, for their dedication and inexhaustible compassion for others.
Prominent among our guests were Salvation Army Lieutenant Colonels David and Sandra Godkin, representing this organisation with its remarkable record of bringing practical help, comfort, and hope to fellow Queenslanders in need, and of delivering that support with the utmost respect and dignity.
It is the Salvos’ spirit of giving unstintingly to the community that we acknowledge and celebrate here today.
Dickens was still alive and writing when the Salvation Army was established in London in 1865.
His own harsh childhood had taught him a thing or two about injustice, and he used his literary gift to expose the underbelly of Victorian society.
Even so, I hesitated before quoting him.
After all, it was he who created the most infamous, mean-spirited miser in literature – Ebenezer Scrooge – not the ideal role model for an initiative encouraging generous giving.
But Scrooge eventually changed his tune, even if he had to be frightened into it by three ghosts.
Fortunately, this large gathering of admirers of the Salvos does not need to be terrified into a state of generosity.
The past success of this event, and of the Red Shield Appeal more generally, speaks eloquently to that.
We are all aware of the outstanding dedication and generous spirit of the Salvos.
We are all aware of the great range of the Salvos services – services for Queensland’s youth, for Defence Force personnel, for addiction recovery, for the homeless.
The list is long, and the call on resources is high.
I revert to Dickens, a generous but quiet philanthropist himself, for the appropriate words: Do all the good you can, and make as little fuss about it as possible.
Giving generously to the Red Shield Appeal is a wonderful way to do good.
And I don’t think the Salvos would worry if you made just a little fuss about it, especially if it encouraged generosity in others.
I thank you for your attendance here today, and extend my heartfelt – heartfelt, appreciation to the Salvation Army for its selfless commitment to the continued well-being of the Queensland community.
It is now my great pleasure to launch officially the 2019 Red Shield Appeal for Queensland, and to wish the appeal, and the dedicated men and women and young people who make it all possible, outstanding success.