Australia Day 2021 Flag-Raising Ceremony
Premier; representing the Prime Minister, Member for Herbert, Mr Phillip Thomson; Ministers; Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Mr David Janetzki; local Members of Parliament; Mayor Jenny Hill and fellow Councillors; Major General Ellwood; Commissioners; Service representatives; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I too extend my appreciation and respect to the representatives of Australia’s Indigenous peoples who have welcomed us to this region, and whose culture beneficially defines our contemporary spirit.
Kaye and I are delighted to join you in Townsville once more for Australia Day.
Today, none of us could be blamed for wanting to banish the past 12 months to the distant recesses of our memory.
But there are achievements that we forged together during the pandemic, and many lessons learned, that are worthy of keeping firmly in our memories.
In being separated at times from family and friends, we became more conscious of just how much those ties mean to us.
Whenever we found limits on our day-to-day contact with the community around us, we became more aware of how vital that web of community is to our well-being.
Then there were the countless acts of kindness by Queenslanders to neighbours and strangers, especially those made more vulnerable by the pandemic.
The stamina, patience and goodwill of front-line workers in health and other vital areas has been beyond outstanding. So too was the speed with which community support organisations found safe and innovative ways of maintaining their care for Queenslanders.
During the past year, Kaye and I have been deeply touched by this generosity of spirit in action – but not surprised.
In more than six years since I became Governor, we have met and provided encouragement to thousands of Queenslanders all over the State, from bustling cities to tiny townships.
Throughout those tens of thousands of kilometres travelled, we have encountered everywhere this same deep well of strength and generosity, a well that never runs dry.
My 25 predecessors as Governor would agree with me. Many of them also witnessed drought, fire, flood and, yes, even global pandemics that put Queenslanders to the test.
For them, as for me, the great honour and privilege of being Governor has brought an even deeper appreciation of our State’s special contribution to the character of Australians and Australia.
Not only geography, but also our open-heartedness and pride in achievement, our compassion, humour and resilience, and the many rich cultures we share, bind us into a State and a nation.
As Governor, and an immensely proud Queenslander, I wish you all a happy Australia Day 2021, as we look forward to the year ahead with great optimism.