Garden Reception to Celebrate Christmas
Deputy Premier, representing the Premier; former Norfolk Island Administrator, the Honourable Gary Hardgrave; representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jarrod Bleijie; Your Honours; Service Chiefs; Archbishops, Heads of Churche and priests from neighbouring Churches; Dean of the Consular Corps, Mr Anton Swan and Consul General of Japan; Commissioners; Chief Health Officer, Dr Young; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I warmly welcome you all to Government House. We are especially delighted to have in our presence students from Schools – I believe six in total – we recently visited, and several of Queensland’s remaining World War Two veterans, whose service we acknowledge with gratitude 75 years on from Victory Day.
Now, when Queensland was erected into a colony on this day in 1859, our first Governor, Sir George Bowen, would I am sure have had every confidence that today the colony, now our State, would be served by dedicated servants of the people, in politics, business, the judiciary, and in our schools and community organsiations.
Looking around at remarkable people before me tonight, and recalling those Kaye and I have encountered this year, I can say without hesitation, that vision has been fulfilled totally.
Ladies and gentlemen, since gathering this time last year, the world – our State – has been through incredibly testing times.
And yet, despite these externally imposed strictures, the gossamer threads of cohesion in our State have tightened, not frayed.
This reflects conscientious leadership rendered to our people.
It is also an affirmation of all Queenslanders, who adapted to the constraints in a characteristically uncomplaining and unfussy way.
Kaye and I experienced this first-hand, on our regular regional visits after intrastate travel restrictions were lifted in June – back to Birdsville, Winton and Longreach; in tiny El Arish, a now century-old soldier settlement between Cairns and Innisfail; and in Gladstone, Maryborough and Moranbah during our sixth Regional Government House in September.
We sensed this in teleconferences with Mayors during the height of pandemic restrictions; in virtual and physical school visits – 27 of them all up; and as we solemnly stood with our co-citizens at the end of driveways to greet the dawn on Anzac Day.
Kaye and I emerge from this remarkable year – a remarkably busy year; the Official Secretary assures me the number of events this year, 740, reflects a 16% increase on 2019, despite COVID-19 disruptions…
we emerge from this remarkable year, consolidated in our conviction that Queenslanders are an absolutely wonderful people.
We do not diminish the loss and isolation experienced by so many this year.
But on this special day for us all, and as we approach the festive season, we reflect on who we are as a people, and how we have developed, inspired and defined as we still are by our Indigenous heritage.
In doing so, we promote and exemplify the unifying Queensland spirit, which inspires Kaye and me daily, six and a half years in to this governorship, and which remains a cause for great optimism for our future.
To all, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year – 2021! – which we look forward to with optimism.