Speeches

The Governor is invited to speak at a wide range of significant official, ceremonial and community events, including the Opening of Parliament, ANZAC Day ceremonies and events for Patron groups. A selection of these speeches is available below in a searchable database.

Back to all speeches

 at Government House, Brisbane

Reception for Delegates Attending the 50th Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure, with Kaye, to welcome to Government House delegates of the fiftieth Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference. We particularly welcome those visiting from outside Queensland and from overseas.

I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and I humbly pay my respects to their Elders. It is highly fitting that your Conference should take place during NAIDOC Week – an annual celebration of the immensely rich culture and diverse contributions of Australia’s First Nations people. This year’s theme, ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’, will no doubt resonate with one of your conference themes – reaching out through community engagement.

By my count there are Presidents and Speakers of some 17 chambers here this afternoon from across Australia, New Zealand and the wider Pacific. That number does not allow for your hard-working Deputies or Clerks and Assistant Clerks.

We welcome you all, especially representatives from our Pacific neighbours, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Tuvalu, Niue, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, the Cook Islands, and Bougainville – and from the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.

I also particularly thank our Queensland Speaker, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP, who suggested that Kaye and I host this afternoon’s function – an opportunity we at once agreed to.   

Discussions in wider society about democracy are often broadly framed. We hear of the parliamentary, judicial and executive branches, but little of the mechanics – of the day to day minutiae – of those who make the ‘cogs turn’ in our institutions.

What, for example, of the relationships between presiding officers, clerks and vice-regal officeholders?

Queensland, uniquely of the Australian States, has a unicameral parliament, and, therefore, a single presiding officer.

In my five years thus far as Governor, I have worked with three Legislative Assembly Speakers. I have been greatly impressed by the measure and courtesy of my interactions with them all.

The relationship between the Queensland Governor and Speaker embraces the ceremonial.

It also importantly spans the constitutional, including, for example, through the presentation for Assent by the Speaker of duly passed Appropriation Bills.

All other Bills are also presented for Assent here at Government House, but by the Clerk, accompanied by a letter from the Attorney-General confirming they have been duly passed.

I understand these processes are subtly different in other jurisdictions.

So while we are all united in some way by Westminster tradition, each system maintains its idiosyncrasies.

This is where the value of conferences such as this really come to the fore.

It is a credit to the strength of the chambers you represent, and to your commitment to professional development and ethics that you take this time to meet and discuss issues of central importance… central importance not just to our parliaments imemediately, but in the long term and fundemantally, to the people they ultimately serve.

I hope tonight’s reception facilitates new and reinforces existing friendships. May these lead to spirited discussion in the days ahead. 

To that end, I thank you, all of you, for your service. I wish you all the best during this Conference, which I very much look forward to officially opening tomorrow morning. Thank you.