Morning Tea for the Order of St John for the Investiture and Presentation of Awards
St John Ambulance Australia (Queensland) Chairman, Reverend Peter Devenish-Meares and fellow Directors; President of the State Council, Dr Vlasis Efstathis; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I warmly welcome you to Government House.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
May I firstly congratulate today’s conferees who are being admitted into and promoted within the Order of St John, and those who will shortly receive long-service awards.
These are distinguished honours of which you, the Order and your families should be so very proud.
As Deputy Prior in Queensland, I extend my gratitude for your service and achievements.
The origins of this Order go back almost one thousand years and throughout history its membership has included a great many humanitarians.
Humanitarians have certainly been in great demand this year as we collectively face the threat of a pandemic. This virus, a small but powerful adversary, has challenged us in many ways.
While we have been largely fortunate to live where we do, we know that those around the world have suffered greatly as COVID-19 sweeps the globe.
It is of course at times like this that we turn to our trained healthcare professionals who in some cases hold lives in their hands.
Our community, our State, is so much richer for the Order’s presence and dedication.
Its historical roots continue to translate so well into compassionate care, conspicuously through St John Ambulance which has been assisting Queenslanders now for some 125 years.
Whether it be in offering transport and shopping services to vulnerable community members, or weekly uplifting phone calls, St John Ambulance has been supporting our community through what has been a truly challenging time.
In acknowledging your work, it is of great importance to note that the services offered are not just limited to looking after the physical but also include the whole person’s wellbeing.
For many of our most vulnerable citizens, COVID-19 has been a time of increased isolation and loneliness. I commend the work of St John Ambulance in being a connector for people during this difficult year.
The future is hard to predict but I feel confident in saying that the mission and work of St John Ambulance will always be welcome in our community.
Technology and society may change around us but the essential human need to connect will never leave us.
Thank you for all you do, and enjoy this most special ceremonial occasion.