Government House Investiture Ceremony F - September 2023
Representing The Order of Australia Association, Mrs Marjorie Voss OAM; the YMCA Youth Governor for 2023, Mr Jamie Robbins; 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 to welcome you all most warmly to Government House for this morning’s investitures. It is always a great pleasure to share this special ceremony with those who have been honoured with Order of Australia awards1 and to have the opportunity afterwards to meet and chat with them and their invited guests.
First, I congratulate all of you on the honours you have received. It has been a privilege for me as Governor to present you with your medals on behalf of His Majesty, King Charles III, the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia.
The Order of Australia was established in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth II as a “society of honour” to replace the British Imperial honours which, until then, were the only way in which Australian citizens could be acknowledged for their achievements and thanked for their commitment and generosity.
That decision by Her Majesty meant that, for the first time, instead of the MBEs and OBEs familiar to many of us growing up, we had our own unique system of honours and awards.
That was almost 50 years ago now, and the four levels of the Order have since enabled the people of Australia to acknowledge the enormous contribution their fellow citizens make through their local, national and international contributions.
Today’s awardees include a recipient who has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her exceptional contribution to genetics and research into neurological disorders, and no fewer than 21 recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia – the OAM.
Collectively, you are a superb example of the immense diversity represented by the awards in the Order of Australia and how important those honours are in helping to create and sustain a cohesive, resilient nation.
As you heard when the citations were read during the ceremony, today’s OAM recipients have contributed to fields from education, forestry, medicine, veterans and youth, to local government, natural history, community history, and Indigenous employment and welfare; they have helped reduce birth trauma and have promoted ethical standards; they have worked as volunteers through sporting, health and welfare bodies, as well as service organisation such as Lions and Freemasons; and they have given generous philanthropic support to a wide range of organisations and charitable endeavours.
The decorations you have received today are not to be tucked away in a drawer and forgotten; they should be worn with pride as a symbol of our nation’s gratitude to you, and of your thanks to those who nominated you and supported your nomination.
And you will find that your tiny, discreet lapel pin is actually very powerful because it prompts the curious to ask about its significance, and that gives you the opportunity to encourage people to nominate someone they admire and respect for an honour – because in our wonderful, egalitarian system, any citizen can nominate any other citizen for an award, with the process entirely free of political or personal influence.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate you once again on the achievements and contributions that have brought you here today, and thank you for all you have done, and will continue to do, to provide the role models we need to strengthen Australian society and reinforce the ideals that underpin our national honours and awards: being fairness, generosity, honesty, humility, moral courage, care for others, and commitment to making a positive difference.