Afternoon Garden Reception in Support of International Women’s Day 2020
Representing the Premier, Minister Farmer; Chief Justice; Minister Grace; former Governor, Ms Leneen Forde; Leader of the Opposition; Your Honours; Members of Parliament; Directors-General; Vice-Chancellor; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen – and students, so many of whom are so wonderfully here this afternoon.
And Queensland’s oldest citizen, Mrs Mabel Crosby, whose 110th anniversary celebration I was so privileged to attend last year.
Kaye and I warmly welcome you to Government House as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2020.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is an annual highlight for us to meet so many inspiring women who have such a profound impact on the vitality and wellbeing of our State. Your distinguished contributions, across a range of endeavours, touch lives in important and enduring ways.
You are all trailblazers, courageously forging new paths and encouraging others to follow.
And, as we head towards a State Election this year, let us reflect that for the first time, female candidates are at the helms of both major political parties in our State.
Yet, I am sure you would agree that achievements do not always have to be recognised, in a public sense, to be significant.
Thanks to your example, girls and women in diverse communities throughout Queensland, are empowered to make their own substantial, if often unheralded, contributions.
When I think of unrecognised, but significant, contributions, I vividly recall Kaye’s and my interactions with remarkable women on our frequent regional visits.
Women like those on the State Council of the Isolated Children’s Parents Association, who we met over successive years in Burketown, Charleville and St George – proud women sustaining regional communities and ensuring quality education for kids from the bush.
Or the women artists we met at the Mornington Island Arts Centre in August.
Remarkable Queenslanders, all of them, whose contributions we recognise today and from whom our State regularly draws inspiration.
Now positive change requires strong leaders, but it also demands committed supporters.
Sadly, however, despite continual and welcome advancements over the past decades, there are still major barriers to women realising their hopes and ambitions.
Most abhorrently – as highlighted by the tragic events a few weeks ago – family violence remains an unacceptable social problem, and one that we must work tirelessly to eliminate.
I know all here this afternoon are indeed committed supporters of that cause.
This year’s UN International Women’s Day theme – “I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” – reminds us that all generations have a role in creating a new vision for women.
Yet these efforts should not fall on female shoulders alone.
I therefore pay tribute to the men with us this evening, who, though small in number, are deeply committed to a fair society, positively aligned.
On this occasion each year, we come together – men and women, diverse in our experiences, yet united by a single cause – to ensure every girl and woman, across all ages and from all backgrounds can live their life with dignity, worth and freedom.
Our unity is at the heart of this afternoon’s celebration, and its strength depends on your continuing, deeply valued contribution. Thank you.