Celebration of 100 years of service by The Society of Notaries Queensland
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Queensland, the Honourable Chief Justice Helen Bowskill; Former Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Leneen Forde AC; Honorary Consul of Lebanon, Mr Anthony Torbey; Society of Notaries Queensland President, Mrs Margot de Groot AM, and Council members, Mr James Madden, Mr Clive Speakman and Mr Neil McPherson; Distinguished Guests, welcome.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands on which Government House stands, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders, past, present and emerging. I extend that respect to any First Nations people here today.
Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you all here to Government House to celebrate 100 years of service by the Society of Notaries Queensland.
For many in our community, their thoughts about the law and more particularly lawyers, are most likely stirred by the often seductive media coverage of litigation in our civil and criminal courts or a controversial high-profile enquiry. The role of the ‘Lawyer as Notary Public’ does not so easily come to mind. Perhaps because it is by its nature, a low-profile and specialist function performed by highly skilled and qualified members of the profession – away from the limelight.
It is, by many centuries, the oldest continuing branch of the legal profession, not only in our own system, but worldwide – yet it remains, to a large extent, an almost invisible service. However, the enduring role of drafting and attesting deeds and testamentary documents, administering oaths, powers of attorney and documents critical to trade and the maritime industry and the many other highly significant responsibilities of the Notary – are critical to the smooth functioning Government, Commerce, and the life of almost everyone – whether they know it or not.
Yours is a great responsibility, honourably performed by Notaries in Queensland for a century and I congratulate and thank you, and your predecessors, for your professionalism and dedication.
Before I conclude, I wonder if you will indulge me for a moment. My role as Governor is fascinating and personally rewarding, especially when I have the opportunity to research beyond areas with which I am overly familiar.
For example, were it not for this celebration, I might never have known that Queensland is the only State of Australia which shares with New Zealand, the almost quaint practice of having its Notaries appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury through the good offices of the ‘Master of Faculties’, who is a judge of the High Court in England.
And if that were not all; this tradition has its origins in the Ecclesiastical Licence Act of 1533 – almost 600 years ago. And while this is likely well known to you, I was fascinated to learn that this ancient legislation is also known by the enchanting title of ‘The Act Concerning Peter’s Pence and Dispensations.’
I’m sure you can understand how easy it is to be drawn away down fascinating avenues of new knowledge and become distracted from the task…as I just have!! And so, without further ado, to conclude, Graeme and I thank you all for coming to Government House to share and celebrate this great occasion marking 100 years of service by Notary Publics across the State.