Cairns Investiture Ceremony
Representing the Mayor of Cairns Regional Council, Deputy Mayor Councillor Terry James; representing Commanding Officer, HMAS Moreton, Royal Australian Navy, Commander Alfonso Santos CSC RAN; representing Commissioner, Queensland Police Service, Far North Region Assistant Commissioner Brett Schafferius APM; representing the Queensland President, Australian Bravery Association, Far North Queensland Committee Member, Sergeant Dave Raymond BM.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of Cairns and its surrounding regions, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. I extend that respect to any First Nations people here today.
I am delighted to be with you this morning to be able to present these special Australian Honours and Awards in person, in what is remarkably our ‘third time lucky’ attempt at hosting this Investiture Ceremony; the first being cancelled due to COVID, and the second of course, in consideration of the sad and unexpected passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second, our beloved monarch of 70 years, on the very evening before we were due to host this ceremony last September.
I understand the necessary, but last-minute nature of the postponement would have caused much disruption and inconvenience to you all and I truly thank you for your patience and understanding in that regard. And I am so pleased we could welcome you back here today.
Now, as a representative of our new sovereign, King Charles the Third, in this State, I consider it a great privilege to meet the incredible people who have demonstrated such outstanding dedication to serving others.
Congratulations to each of you, and to your families and friends who have encouraged and supported you on your journeys.
To earn an award takes significant effort, but what is so unique about Australia’s Honours and Awards system is that it relies on the involvement of peers to identify and nominate individuals they consider worthy of receiving our country’s highest honours.
This makes our system truly independent and ensures that those who are working so hard in our regional communities can equally be acknowledged and celebrated. This is important, because, arguably—outside the big cities—the influence and example of every person in the community is felt even more keenly.
Each of today’s recipients is united by their passion and commitment to serve their community, whether it is in the fields of education, the military, emergency services, across a broad range of community building organisations, or – in the case of Mr Andrews – through a courageous act of bravery that put his own personal safety in jeopardy to protect the safety of others.
What you have in common is your remarkable motivation to protect and improve the communities you serve by reaching out, being generous with your time and expertise, by being actively involved, and obviously, creating a beneficial rapport with others.
This sharing of knowledge is crucial to strengthening the abilities of those around you. Guiding other people to achieve at a higher level and leading by example is the true mark of leadership. Striving to drive positive change takes genuine courage.
The valuable effect of your endeavours is stronger communities, where the ideals and aspirations we strive for as a nation are enhanced, to the benefit of all.
I know that award recipients rarely seek recognition. In my experience, those I meet are humbled by the honour; even incredulous that someone took the time, and effort, to nominate them for an award.
This makes today even more special, as it gives you a chance to be proud of your achievements, and for us to publicly thank you for your contributions.
We need occasions such as this to reflect on the outstanding goodness at work in our organisations, institutions, services and communities at large, and to understand that this has a positive ripple effect that extends far beyond these walls.
I therefore encourage you to continue to wear your pins and medals, because their effect can be deeply inspirational.
On behalf of the people of Queensland, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and deepest gratitude. Thank you.