Speeches

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 Paroo Shire Hall Cunnamulla

Official Opening of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association 2021 Conference

Mayor, Cr Beresford; Australian President of the ICPA, Ms Alana Moller; our State President, Ms Louise Martin; our host President, from the Cunnamulla branch, Ms Rhiannon Newsham; the Honourable Bruce Scott, other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.

I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.

I am delighted to join you today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association in Queensland, and to open an ICPA conference for my third time as Governor.

It is a particular pleasure that we can gather in person this year – in historic Cunnamulla, where the Association’s very first Queensland branch was established in 1971.

And not only in Cunnamulla, but in a Shire Hall, whose very name evokes country Queensland hospitality and a powerful sense of community.

The last time I was in Longreach, my briefing notes said that I was to attend an investiture ceremony at the Civic Centre. I asked Mayor Tony Raynor “was that the Shire Hall?” He said “yes”, and graciously agreed I could call it that! You see I lived there in the 1950s, when the town had even not a Mayor, but a ‘Shire Chairman’, then Sir James Walker. But I digress… 

Like this modern Shire Hall, the 2021 ICPA Conference also looks to the future, making History and Horizons an inspired choice for this year’s theme.   

The Conference seeks, as always, to strengthen the ICPA’s role in advocating for equity of access to quality education for students from rural and remote Queensland, and I am sure leaders of government listen.   

Whether young Queenslanders live in rural and remote areas or in large cities, their education is the key to a fulfilling future and to maintaining the inner strength of their communities. And can I say how delighted I am to see students from Cunnamulla State School and Sacred Heart Parish School here today – I very much look forward to meeting many more of them when I visit Sacred Heart after this Conference opening.

Access to quality education for children in rural and remote areas is not one issue but many – a sometimes complex web of inter-related challenges.

It is all the more important, then, that the ICPA is here to inform and educate all Queenslanders on these challenges and to continue bringing these issues to the attention of policy-makers.

Along with this serious and important business, the Conference provides a chance for parents normally scattered across the State to celebrate, to meet old friends and make new friends, giving this gathering a special character. 

As Governor, I thank you all for making often extraordinary efforts to be here today. I thank the ICPA Committee for its success in bringing people together from all over this vast State, and Conference sponsors for their invaluable support.   

I congratulate the ICPA on its 50th anniversary and pay wholehearted tribute to all those whose vision and dedication has sustained the ICPA through five decades. The anniversary is of itself important, but also significant for so many years of advocacy for young people outside the South East corner. My warmest congratulations!

I also publicly thank the Royal Flying Doctor Service – represented today by Board Member, the Honourable Bruce Scott – which expertly transported Government House staff and me today (as passengers, not patients)!

I am proud Patron of the RFDS. What a remarkable initiative, founded by the Reverend John Flynn, 93 years ago! Like the ICPA, the support of the RFDS for Queensland ‘beyond Brisbane’, is, frankly, jaw dropping. How many lives have been saved, how many lives improved, through its wonderful and dedicated efforts.

And how many lives improved thanks to the efforts, ladies and gentlemen, of your ICPA.

Just last week I was in Emerald for the renaming of the BUSHKids facility as the Leslie Wilson Outback Centre: I knew it as a child in Longreach as the Royal Queensland Bush Children's Health Scheme, another wonderful initiative in support of western children, in that case since 1935;

and then there is the QCWA, which reaches its centenary next year. My wife Kaye as Patron hosted a reception for its Council in Brisbane only last Thursday.

How wonderful that all these initiatives are supported so generously and effectively by volunteer community effort. And your work, ladies and gentlemen, cuts in at an absolutely critical point, the education and development of our young people. 

I conclude by making my own modest contribution to the conference theme of History and Horizons. In a short while, I will present your Presidents with copies of The Governors of Modern Queensland, a book I commissioned on the role of the past five Governors of our State – all surviving! Your former President, Ms Tammie Irons, makes an appearance, so the book must be good! 

First, however, it is with great pleasure that I officially launch the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association 2021 Conference and wish all participants an inspiring and productive experience here in Cunnamulla. Thank you.