Official Opening of the Defence Reserves Association – Queensland National Conference
Defence Minister, Senator Reynolds; Shadow Minister, Mr Neumann MP; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your very warm welcome. I thank Colonel Cotton for the invitation to officially launch this Conference, at this richly historic Queensland venue where significant military contributions are routinely honoured.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane and extend respectful greeting to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is a great privilege to speak to you today, on what is undoubtedly one of your most important events of the year.
Ever since its inception in 1969 as the Citizen Military Forces Association, the Defence Reserves Association has played a pivotal role in supporting the Australian Defence Force. It has admirably promoted its members’ interests and safeguarded the concerns of the Defence Reserve component of the Australian Defence Force.
I think back now to my own time in the Citizens’ Military Force from 1966, in the Queensland University Regiment: how reassured I would have been by an Association like this. Yours is a mission crucial to securing peace and prosperity for all, accentuated by a development which post-dated my own limited service, and that is the substantial embedding of Reservists with regulars. It is a great honour, as Governor of Queensland in your significant 50th year, to acknowledge you all.
Annual conferences like these are not only outstanding occasions to develop strategy, they also offer an excellent opportunity to acknowledge heritage and past achievements.
However, a word of caution is needed: summing up each of your achievements would easily exceed my allocated speaking time. So, with your permission, I will keep it brief.
As your Governor, I express my tremendous gratitude for the contributions of Reservists to State and nation.
And clearly, I am not alone in my admiration. Queenslanders display conspicuous gratitude for service personnel, including Reservists – I have witnessed it at ceremonies and memorials all over the State, indeed all over the world.
Australia may have a relatively small defence contingent in numerical terms by international standards. But what it lacks in size is more than made up for in courage and capability, as graphically demonstrated to me on 22nd July when I visited Operation Talisman Sabre. Our people highly regard those who are prepared to sacrifice themselves and risk their lives for others, at sea or ashore, in war or natural calamity. In turn, our personnel are highly regarded internationally.
I thank the Defence Reserves Association for organising today’s conference. I am very glad you are hosting it in Brisbane – and that the Defence Minister and Shadow Defence Personnel Minister can attend, appropriately recognising Queensland’s contribution to Australia’s military capability and depth, most recently on display at Shoalwater Bay.
I further congratulate the Association for bringing together such an eminent group of speakers to unpack the highly topical theme, Reserve Forces: Building on the Success of the Total Force.
In that spirit, of building on success, I wish you all constructive deliberations and look forward to reading your findings in the forthcoming issue of The Australian Reservist. Thank you.