Reception in honour of the official birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Minister of the State, the Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe, representing our Premier; Ministers of the State the Honourable Mick de Brenni and the Honourable Di Farmer; former 24th Governor and Governor-General The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce; Your Honours; The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor; Service Chiefs; Church Leaders including the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane; Members of the Consular Corp; Commissioner of Police; Ladies and Gentlemen, including this afternoon many of our younger citizens, our aspiring and inspiring student leaders; and I will add, notwithstanding her absence from Government House Queensland this afternoon, Ms Ashleigh Barty!
Kaye and warmly welcome you all to Government House this afternoon, as we celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, Queen of Australia, on these lands of which the Turrbal and Yagera peoples are the traditional Indigenous custodians.
This remarkable woman has been our monarch for 67 years. In that time, while the world around us has changed at breathtaking pace, our Queen has remained unwaveringly true to her youthful pledge -delivered at the tender age of 21 while in Cape Town - to devote Her life to Her people. In Her words, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’
Students, on that occasion the then Princess Elizabeth actually spoke particularly to young people, seeking support to speak on Her 21st birthday as their representative. What a role model she has proved to be for our youth.
The stability that pledge at once generated, and has ever after generated, is deeply reassuring and worthy of our highest respectful acclaim. This has long been axiomatic: we can unhesitately rely on Her Majesty’s outstanding commitment to serve her people and the Commonwealth, and to do so with grace, measure, and dedication.
At 93 years of age, our beloved Queen has reached and passed more milestones than any other British Monarch.
She has celebrated silver 25th, sapphire 45th, gold 50th, and diamond 60th jubilees, and remains committed to representing over 600 charities, military associations and other organisations.
Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth oversaw the 70th birthday celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, whose 53 diverse independent and sovereign states represent as many as 33% of the world’s population.
And at the same time as fulfilling her many official responsibilities, Her Majesty has nurtured her own growing family, as mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, with personal involvement, love and pride - so evident on our TV screens only last night, with the Trooping the Colour fly-past by the RAF over Buckingham Palace, where young Prince Louis resolved he should not completely steal the show!
Kaye and I have had the privilege of meeting with The Queen on several occasions over the past few years. Each time we have been impressed by Her Majesty’s enduring interest in the well-being of our State, and her palpable affection for the people of Queensland - and all Australians.
We sensed this recently as the mettle of Queenslanders was tested by catastrophic weather events. Proximately to those catastrophies, Her Majesty sent moving personal messages of support and compassion on separate occasions to our people so seriously affected by drought, bush fires and floods. She also recognized and praised the many wonderfully altruistic volunteers who provided support and relief during those testing natural disasters. Her Majesty’s thoughts and encouragement during those difficult times were deeply appreciated.
Queenslanders have always been captivated by Her presence, from Her first Royal Visit in 1954 and over the subsequent 7 Royal Tours here. The response of our people to The Queen’s genuine interest and absolute charm has been nothing short of rapturous.
Her Majesty stayed here in this house Fernberg, when she visited the State in 1954. The ‘People’s House’ is tonight bathed in maroon for the 160th Anniversary of the Separation from New South Wales in 1859 of the Colony of Queensland so aptly named Queensland at the instigation of our Queen’s great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
I am told the colour may seen as celebrating another recent event: we can be quietly proud of that as well!
Mutual empathic enthusiasm monarch and people has defined our Queen’s long reign. Her Majesty continues to express her interest in and affection for us; and we reciprocate!
And so this afternoon, with deep respect, we acknowledge first the selfless, and in every respect magnificent, contribution Her Majesty has made in her service to Australia and the Commonwealth, and we acknowledge with gratitude her deep affection for Queenslanders of which Kaye and I have been reminded first hand.
Her Majesty has sent us a message:
I am most grateful to you for your kind messages, and to those gathered today to celebrate my Official Birthday. I send my warm best wishes to you and the people of Australia. Elizabeth R
Would you please join me in a toast, offered with gratitude and respect, to the continuing good health and inspiring leadership of our esteemed Head of State, Her Majesty The Queen of Australia.