Afternoon Reception in Support of NAIDOC Week 2021
Minister Leeanne Enoch; Commissioner Paul Stewart; Governor-designate, Dr Jeannette Young and Professor Graeme Nimmo; distinguished guests; Elders; ladies and gentlemen; young Queenslanders.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I welcome you all to Government House this afternoon for NAIDOC Week 2021, where we particularly acknowledge the rich Indigenous culture of which all of us are beneficiaries, and we endeavour to walk beside Indigenous Queenslanders towards justice and inclusiveness.
My Acknowledgement of Country follows that offered by His Grace Archbishop Aspinall in St John’s Cathedral last Sunday afternoon at “The Coming of the Light” celebration – marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival in the Torres Strait of the London Missionary Society.
When I was sworn in as Queensland’s 26th Governor, nearly 7 years ago, I made the solemn promise, with Kaye, to serve all Queenslanders, especially Indigenous Queenslanders, characterized by a spirit of reconciliation and togetherness.
Since 2014, we have visited almost all of Queensland’s Indigenous communities, including the Torres Strait – and in return, hosted here at Government House their Mayors.
We have also sought to open up Government House to as many Queenslanders as possible, including through these annual NAIDOC Week receptions.
We have been especially pleased to welcome so many Indigenous Queensland students and young people`, including, tonight, those here as part of Anthe Phillipides’ Indigenous Arts Circle. I also applaud our didgeridoo player, Mr Eric Ellis, from the Brisbane Catholic Education’s Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre.
In 2019, by way of another example, we were delighted to welcome to Fernberg Chloe Schmidt and other students from the Girls Academy at Bundaberg State High School.
They delivered a painting created by Indigenous young adults from Bundaberg, which represented their ideal of reconciliation, of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people living together in harmony.
Now, it has a permanent place here at Government House, and is on display tonight.
Chloe and her classmates were interviewed for and attended the launch of a major publication I unveiled in Bundaberg earlier this year – ‘The Governors of Modern Queensland’ by David Fagan and Madonna King, and published by UQ Press – you will all receive a copy as you depart.
This book highlights how Governors, especially since Leneen Forde, have used this office to acknowledge the historical and contemporary contributions of Indigenous Queenslanders, and have forged new pathways to inclusiveness.
Kaye and I have distilled from our time in this role, that in Queensland we must always support each other, united in heritage, while also acknowledging large areas of disadvantage.
And so tonight, we join with you all in using NAIDOC Week 2021 as an opportunity for remembrance, pride, celebration, reflection and healing – as this year’s theme suggests.
We further thank everyone here tonight, for your ongoing commitment to creating and nurturing an equitable Queensland, where our shared past is acknowledged and our first Australians are recognised, respected and have every opportunity to succeed.
Thank you, and enjoy this most special occasion here in your Government House.