Australia-Japan Society Queensland 50th Anniversary Celebration ‘An Evening in a Japanese Garden’
Consul-General of Japan in Brisbane, Mr Masuo Ono and Mrs Kimu Ono; President of the Australia Japan Society – Queensland, Ms Margaret Rackemann and Vice-President, Mr David Shield; President of the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Chris Whitecross; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I would also like to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay respect to their Elders past and present, and emerging. I would also like to extend my respect to any First Nations people here with us today.
I am delighted to join you tonight in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Australia Japan Society – Queensland.
It also gives me great pleasure to continue an important Vice-Regal tradition in becoming Chancellor of the Society.
Having had the pleasure of meeting the Society’s President and Vice-President, Margaret and David, earlier this year, tonight marks my first official Society event and I am thrilled that it coincides with the Society’s half-century.
And in such a wonderful setting!
This beautiful Japanese garden is a much-loved haven of tranquillity, but is looking even more resplendent for this evening’s celebration.
Though tonight is a happy occasion, it would be remiss not to recall the recent tragic loss of Japan’s former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in a shocking, senseless act that felt to Australians like losing a great friend.
On behalf of Queenslanders, I expressed these heartfelt sentiments in the Japanese Consulate-General’s condolence book, and in a personal call with Consul-General Ono.
It is entirely fitting that we remember Mr Abe in this peaceful garden, created for EXPO 88 and generously donated by Japan to the people of Queensland the following year.
The garden is a marvellous, living expression of the warmth of the relationship between Queensland and Japan.
Its traditional Japanese theme of water-stone-pond and its native Australian plants sit together in harmony, thoroughly at home with each other.
We can say the same of the Queensland-Japan relationship, which over time has become ever broader, deeper and richer in every aspect from trade to culture.
The Australia Japan Society – Queensland has played an invaluable role in this, actively encouraging and strengthening bilateral relations at all levels.
From facilitating youth dialogues and Queensland-Japan sister city relationships, to networking, culture, and sport, the Society has helped make Queensland and Japan feel at home with each other.
I congratulate the Society on reaching its milestone 50th birthday.
I also thank those who have served in the Society’s executive and membership across five decades for their tireless work and steadfast commitment– a contribution worthy of great pride and satisfaction.
I wish the Australia Japan Society – Queensland even greater success in the future, to the great benefit of our State and of our friends throughout Japan.