Afternoon Tea in Support of World Down Syndrome Day
Member for Southport, Mr Rob Molhoek MP; Down Syndrome Queensland Chairman, Mr David Fuller and fellow Board members; Chief Executive Officer, Mr Darryl Steff; staff and supporters of Down Syndrome Queensland.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
Kaye and I warmly welcome you to Government House for today’s belated morning tea – postponed due to COVID-19 – in support of World Down Syndrome Day. We are delighted we could make it happen this year, to celebrate the lives and achievements of those with Down syndrome, and all who support them.
In June 2018, I had the honour of presenting uniforms to a group of swimmers, who were heading for Nova Scotia, in Canada, to represent Australia at the Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships.
I will never forget the joy and pride I saw reflected on the faces of those present that day – the competitors who had trained so hard to achieve a place on the team, the families and volunteers who had provided their love and support, and the staff, who had worked tirelessly to bring about that incredible journey. Indeed, I was looking forward to presenting, at last year’s planned morning tea for World Down Syndrome Day, five further Queensland athletes with their uniforms ahead of the Trisome Games in Turkey.
Unfortunately, life is not always so thrilling.
In 2020, the pandemic lockdowns caused much angst for individuals, families and friends, and especially so for people living with disabilities, who at times acutely felt isolation from the broader community.
This is why, as Patron, I am so proud of the tremendous work done by Down Syndrome Queensland.
For 45 years the organisation has been committed to ensuring those with this genetic difference, have the chance to build meaningful connections and make fulfilling contributions to our State.
Everybody deserves to shine. Being yourself and connecting with others is fundamental for positive self-esteem and good physical health.
As I look around the room, I see I am surrounded by a group of remarkable people who do their best, and make the most of the opportunities available to them.
You are bright lights in our community. You set an example for us all. You lead the way, showing others how to be brave and strong.
Remember, difference is a wonderful gift. It means, people will notice the remarkable talents you possess.
World Down Syndrome Day provides a moment to unite and reflect on how far we have come, but importantly, to share our thoughts on where we need to go next.
I thank the management and staff of Down Syndrome Queensland. Together with the generosity of the Board and a devoted team of volunteers, your organisation is transforming the lives of people across the State, by ‘supporting, advocating and empowering’.
Indeed, Queensland can only benefit from the enormous contributions to be made by those who have Down syndrome.
Kaye and I look forward to meeting many of you throughout the afternoon, and hearing more about your wonderful work. Thank you.