Government House Investiture Ceremony A - September 2023
Representing the Premier, Member for Lytton, Ms Joan Pease MP; representing The Order of Australia Association, Ms Robyn Porter OAM; award recipients, your family and friends, welcome.
I 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 today.
I am delighted that you have been able to join us for this afternoon’s ceremony and I extend a very warm welcome to you all, especially those who have travelled from regional Queensland to be with us today.
The exceptional women and men invested this afternoon have all received honours under the Order of Australia: Officer of the Order – the AO; Member of the Order – the AM; and the Medal of the Order – the OAM.
The Order of Australia is a foundational part of our country’s unique system of public recognition. It was established almost 50 years ago in 1975, but has a long and prestigious history stretching back a thousand years to the military orders of the Crusades and to the Medieval concept of chivalry.
While the ideals of chivalry may seem irrelevant to life in an advanced, modern nation like Australia in the 21st century, systems of honours and awards, like the Order of Australia, remind us that those chivalric values are far from outdated. We still need courageous, moral behaviour; we still need to protect the vulnerable; we still need to play our part in creating a stronger, fairer society – and there are still many large, fiery dragons to be slain!
The growing list of contemporary dragons in Australia today includes disease, disability, poverty, inequality, ageing, conflict and social disengagement.
These are daunting foes, but the women and men who have been invested into the Order of Australia today as Officers, Members, or recipients of the Order of Australia medal inspire us through their example.
Collectively, they represent a vast range of expertise, knowledge and experience, across fields as varied as science, medicine, health, education, public administration, local government, international relations, aged care, literature, the arts, broadcast media, sports, community service, financial planning, fundraising, philanthropy, and literally dozens of voluntary organisations and charities – each working to build a stronger, more resilient Australia.
As Governor, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank you all for your dedication and commitment and congratulate each of you on the achievements, dedication and service that led to your nomination for an Order of Australia honour.
It will not have escaped your notice that, of the 25 awardees today, no fewer than 16 are women. This is a reflection of a national trend that has been emerging for some years, culminating in this year’s King’s Birthday Honours list when, for the first time in Australian history, more women received awards than men.
This is the encouraging result of many years of quiet promotion to challenge perceptions about what types of achievements deserve recognition and to help ensure that Order of Australia awards truly reflect who we are as Australians.
Everyone should be able to see themselves in the Order of Australia awards, and I would encourage all of you, as the latest recipients of honours in the Order, to make your own contribution to this trend by nominating someone. Anyone can make a nomination and all forms of exceptional service, achievement and dedication are considered.
It has been a privilege and pleasure for me to share this special day with you and I look forward to joining you for refreshments after the ceremony.
It remains for me, once again, to congratulate each of you on your honours; and to thank you, on behalf of all Queenslanders, for all that you have done and continue to do.