20th Anniversary Dinner General Sir John Monash Foundation
The 26th Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC CVO KC and Mrs Kaye de Jersey; University of Queensland Chancellor, Professor Peter Varghese AO and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Deborah Terry AO; QUT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Sheil AO; General Sir John Monash Foundation Chair, Ms Jillian Segal AO, Directors of the Board and CEO, Ms Annemarie Rolls; John Monash Scholars; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I too, begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
I would like to start by thanking the members of the General Sir John Monash Foundation for inviting Graeme and I to join you at this evening’s gala dinner.
The Foundation has quite a long history now, and the bold mission statement articulated at its inception has stood the test of these 20 years.
Your mission to seek out the nation’s brightest academic minds and to nurture and support their talents through both financial means and mentorship has led to outstanding accomplishments – and, as envisioned from the start, has added to the building of ‘Australia’s capabilities for the future’.
The fields of study of our John Monash Scholars are varied, and the number of Scholars is substantial. A remarkable 248 scholarships have been awarded to those interested in furthering their learning in the diverse areas of health and medicine (a favourite of mine!), engineering, science, fine arts, education, law, political theory, business, entrepreneurship, and many others.
How wonderful to be enabled to explore and scrutinise, to delve and investigate, to dig deep into the areas of scholarship for which one has a great love and interest. And for us, as a society, to enjoy the benefits of your achievements.
At significant junctures in all organisations – and the same is true for the General Sir John Monash Foundation – taking stock is important, and what better time than the 20th Anniversary to do just that.
Tonight is unquestionably a celebration of all that has come before – the legacies of past Scholars, and the Foundation’s role in assisting them to make their significant contributions to the many communities they serve.
Equally, this is a moment to look forward, to consider what’s to come.
What will be the future legacies of the Foundation, to whom will support be extended, for what purposes and for what outcomes? What future opportunities will arise that prompt attention and what future solutions will be realised through the pursuit of these opportunities?
Securing the best future for Australia is certainly a worthy objective and through the continued awarding of scholarships, the John Monash Foundation hopes to achieve that goal.
The investment you continue to make into outstanding Australians, some of whom are with us this evening, will undoubtedly reap rewards for our nation.
Together with the global connections created through their work, this provides us with much hope in addressing major issues being faced by communities today.
There is an undeniable truth in the belief of General Sir John Monash that education, rather than for individual benefit, should be utilised by those who excel at it for the betterment of the whole community.
With the ongoing support of the John Monash Foundation, we know that all Scholars, through their work, will continue to make the world a better place.
You make me proud to be your Patron, and I am delighted to now present a Certificate of Patronage to your Chair, Ms Jillian Segal AO. Thank you.