Order of Australia Association Queensland 2019 Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards
Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland; our Chair, Associate Professor Harden; Secretary, Mr Geoff Cowles; sponsor, Mr Tim Fairfax; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; and, importantly, students, so many so happily here today. I am delighted to be with you. Thank you to the All Hallows’ School String Quartet for their stirring rendition of our National Anthem.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
In number theory there are only two sublime numbers. One of those numbers is 76 digits long. The other is the number 12. The mathematicians here will tell you that a number is sublime if the sum and number of its divisors are both perfect.
The point I make is that the number 12 is both rare and sublime, as are the 12 young people to whom I will shortly present Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards.
To receive this recognition means that you are being recognised by the Order of Australia Association – of which I am proud Patron in Queensland – as epitomising the highest ideals of citizenship.
It means that you have been selected by your school as outstanding amongst your peers.
It also means that you have been part of a rigorous selection process which has seen you be chosen from candidates from across our State.
I thank the panel of judges who hand-picked these 12 students from amongst the many fine candidates.
I do not envy their task, because I am well aware of the calibre of youth that we are fortunate to have in Queensland.
I have had the privilege of visiting a great number of schools across the State – many in regional areas, from where so many of our Awardees come – since being sworn in as Governor. I am always overwhelmed by the talents and abilities of the young people of our State.
So to have been chosen from such a worthy pool of applicants means that you are rare and sublime indeed.
At the heart of citizenship is being of service to one’s community.
Queenslanders are renowned for our willingness to give a hand in times of trouble. During the recent devastating bushfires across the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, the Scenic Rim and the Granite Belt, Queenslanders everywhere promptly rolled up their sleeves and pitched in.
The students we honour today, however, have not confined themselves to helping in times of trouble, but have made a difference every day to their communities.
They belong to that very special group of people whose presence is felt in their absence, because they leave a place better than they found it.
They are not the only people I wish to congratulate today, however.
Behind every student stands a proud school, a proud family, and a proud community. You are all to be congratulated for your role in fostering the ideals of citizenship that have led the students on their long path to Parliament House today.
Students, I encourage you to remain committed to the ideals of citizenship. From this day onwards, you become informal ambassadors for the Australian Honours system, a role I know you will not take lightly.
Congratulations also to the Order of Australia Association, this magnificent program of Citizenship Awards so vibrantly amplifies those qualities which bind and unite us.
Awardees, Queensland is proud of you. We are all looking forward to seeing what you will do next. Thank you.