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.

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 at St Leo’s College St Lucia

Official Opening of the Rostrum Queensland Convention 2020

Rostrum Australia President, Mrs Jenny Blain; Queensland President, Associate Professor David Thorpe; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure to join you today at this annual convention and to celebrate with you Rostrum Australia’s 90th anniversary.

I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Brisbane, extending respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.

The prospect of public speaking has the power to turn otherwise self-confident people into a quivering mass of nerves.  

And this morning I have the task of making the opening speech to an audience well-versed in the art and craft of public speaking. No pressure!

Fortunately, I can still call on the excellent training I received in the 1960s in obtaining a Licentiate Speech and Drama from the AMEB. And I’ve had some practice since then, including more than 1,800 speeches and messages – mostly speeches – delivered since I was sworn in as Governor in 2014.

Public speaking is something most of us do during our lives – perhaps not 1,800 times, but certainly on occasions like birthdays and weddings, even funerals.  For others, public speaking is an integral part of their professional lives.

The ability to give a clear, concise, engaging speech remains a highly valued and portable skill even in the age of smart phones, social media and Zoom.

Few of us are born talented orators. But all of us have the capacity to learn the art and craft of public speaking.

You may be thinking: it’s not really a challenge for him, because he’s reading from a script – the greater challenge is to speak extempore. 

Well I had a large share of that as a Judge for many years; but the reality as Governor is that I invariably deliver scripted remarks: it’s when I depart from the script (which I am occasionally tempted to do) that I get into trouble! 

Since 1930, Rostrum has provided advice, experience and guidance to thousands of Australians on the techniques, strategies, and skills that make for effective public speaking.

Rostrum has been true to the words of its Promise, encouraging its members to ‘think truly and speak clearly’, to enjoy the fellowship of those with a deep love of the English language.

That is a marvellous contribution by the world’s longest-running public speaking organisation to clear communication and self-confidence in communities all over Queensland.  

While the basic elements of public speaking are applicable to every generation, language, practice and technology do change over time. It is no surprise, then, to see that the 2020 Convention is devoted to strategies for reinvigoration as a means of attracting new members and strengthening Rostrum clubs in Queensland.   

As Patron, I congratulate Rostrum Queensland on its achievements, including success at last year’s Voice of Youth Nationals. 

I heartily congratulate Rostrum Australia on reaching the major milestone of its 90th Anniversary. 

And it is now my great pleasure to officially open the Rostrum Queensland Convention 2020, to wish all attendees an enjoyable and productive convention, and to wish Rostrum Queensland and Rostrum Australia every success in the future.  

Thank you.