International Women’s Day 2022 Afternoon Reception
- Premier of Queensland, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP;
- Chief Justice of Queensland, the Honourable Catherine Holmes;
- Minster for Health and Ambulance Services, the Honourable Yvette D’Ath MP;
- Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Meaghan Scanlon MP;
- Former Governor of Queensland, the Honourable Leneen Forde;
- All Members of Parliament;
- Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service, Commissioner Katarina Carroll;
- Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Mrs Rachel Hunter;
- Distinguished guests;
- Girls and young women – especially from the Somerville House six string consort, for their beautiful music today.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera peoples, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
It is a deep honour for Graeme and me to welcome you all to Government House this afternoon. It is truly inspiring to be celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day with you, particularly as it is my first as Governor of Queensland.
And on this day when we pause to celebrate remarkable women, may I express my deep gratitude, on behalf of all Queenslanders, for Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of remarkable, dignified service as our Head of State.
As for our guests here today, en-masse you present an impressive force; a reflection of how much the contribution of women has broadened over the century or so since the early 1900s, when this special day became an annual global event.
Back then, it would have been fanciful to imagine women holding the positions of State Premier, Chief Justice, Police Commissioner, or dare I say, Queensland Governor—particularly at the same time!
Yet, today we have achieved that, and so much more, as evidenced by all of you—women whose influence reaches into every aspect of Queensland society, enriching and improving it in more ways than would be possible for me to list.
One of the central beliefs of International Women’s Day is that “identifying, celebrating and increasing visibility of women’s achievements can help forge equality”.
Showcasing the success of women in sport, politics, health, the law, in our communities, in our classrooms, and beyond, provides a potent example of what is possible. As my daughters Jane and Rebecca have heard me say a few times, “you can’t be what you can’t see”.
It is why I encouraged each of today’s invitees to bring along a mentee as your special guest, because I know how much can be learned from someone who has already walked the path.
Mentorship truly has transformative power.
Yet, while some of us have been fortunate in our journeys, others have not, and we need to continuously seek ways to ensure all Queensland girls and women can progress and fulfill their potential.
One practical way this can be achieved is by building enhanced literacy skills, particularly amongst those who are most disadvantaged.
This is an area close to my heart, as I believe that being able to read, write and speak with confidence affects every aspect of life.
It is clear though, that even at this fundamental level, there is still significant work to be done to remove obstacles and open up opportunity-filled futures for everyone.
Yet I am confident that the dual forces of action and example will help advance the mighty outcomes already achieved by those who came before us.
Thank you for playing such an important role in addressing this ongoing challenge; for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, for demonstrating the power of tenacity, and for supporting a day that unifies us all in a spirit of joy and determination.
May I conclude with one final message: of immense gratitude for all the emergency services workers, police officers, volunteers, call-centre operators, carers, retail assistants and social workers – and many more – who are out on the ground helping communities reconnect and heal after these devastating floods.
They make Graeme and me very proud to be living in Queensland.
Thank you, and enjoy this important occasion.