Afternoon Tea for the Presentation of the 2020 Winston Churchill Fellowship Awards
Patron, the Honourable Margaret White; National Chair, David Trebeck; Chair of the Queensland Regional Selection Committee, Associate Professor Richard Roylance; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Government House for this annual ceremony. It is an event Kaye and I look forward to because of the unique opportunity it gives us to celebrate with the new Queensland Fellows and to share their excitement and sense of achievement.
The ceremony also gives me the opportunity, as Governor, to recognise the effort required to bring these awards to fruition.
This is especially so this year when the COVID-19 pandemic has made the selection process so challenging.
Associate Professor Roylance has certainly taken up the reins as Chair at an interesting time!
In particular, I thank the Queensland Regional Committee of the Trust, the committee of the Churchill Fellows’ Association of Queensland, and all Queensland Fellows for the work that they do, as volunteers, to manage and promote the Fellowships. It is their dedication that helps preserve the reputation and standard of the awards.
To attract the best possible field of candidates, the Trust needs to ensure that the community is informed about the Fellowships and the opportunities they offer.
This promotional effort is vital to the Trust’s visibility and needs to be increasingly creative to cut through the constant barrage of information and misinformation that confronts us today.
The calibre of the 2020 cohort is evidence of the extent to which this challenge has been embraced and met.
That effort to ensure the integrity and success of the Fellowship system must continue if the Trust is to achieve the best possible outcomes for the individual awardees and for the community.
This year’s recipients will be part of that ongoing effort and I congratulate them on their awards.
The investment which the Trust and its sponsors have made in each of you is a powerful statement of their belief in the value that you will bring to Australian society through your experience.
Now, a great deal of what Churchill wrote or said remains with us because of its power to inspire.
His words and deeds have reached new audiences recently thanks to the Netflix series, The Crown – albeit it with some creative embellishment!
However, Churchill had a little known but important role in Queensland’s history – in the abolition nearly a century ago of the Upper House!
Because of its constitutional importance, the bill abolishing the Legislative Council was sent to King George the Fifth for Royal Assent – and not to the Governor.
At the time, advice to the Monarch on Queensland affairs was channelled through British Ministers – so it was Winston Churchill who advised His Majesty to Assent to the bill.
2020 Fellows, today is also a history-making occasion – and a very happy one at that!
Kaye and I wish you every success in your future endeavours, as you continue to bring great esteem to our State through your actions and potential. Thank you.