Investiture Ceremony - 13 May 2022 (10am)
I begin by acknowledging our official guests; representing the Premier of Queensland and Minister for the Olympics, Ms Charis Mullen MP; Secretary-General of the Queensland Olympic Council, Mr John Lamont; and representing the Chair of the Order of Australia, Dr Mick Davis AM ASM.
I also acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay respect to their Elders past and present, and emerging. I would also like to extend my respect to any First Nations people here with us today.
One of the great privileges I have, as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen, is to invest Queenslanders with their honours and awards under Australia’s unique Honours System. Today’s ceremony is a formal occasion, as it provides the opportunity for all of us gathered here to recognise and honour these investitures into the Order of Australia[i]; each one of which, represents a significant and sustained contribution to our community, our State – and to Australia.
Medals and awards are symbols or emblems of recognition that have been presented throughout history. Roman soldiers were given a large medallic disc called a phalera usually depicting an image of the emperor and tribal warriors wore ornamental objects recognising their deeds.
The acknowledgement of non-military achievement is a much more recent development and was first introduced by the Queen’s grandfather, King George V in 1917. The Order of the British Empire was established to include awards for ‘services in non-combatant circumstances’ recognising distinguished contributions to the arts, sciences, public services, and work in charitable, welfare and community organisations.
The Order of Australia followed this example and being a sporting nation, Australia led the way in recognising excellence in the nation’s athletes and sportspeople.
The Order of Australia continues to evolve, and it is encouraging to note that in the last five years the recognition of women has improved from an average of only around 30% of all awards since 1975, to the highest level so far. This year in 2022, right across Australia, a little over 47% of recipients are women – and todays awardees almost exactly reflect that.
I acknowledge and thank the recipients we honour here today for their commitment and contribution to Australia. You have each been recognised by the community and I hope you will wear your medals and decorations with both pride and honour.
You have earned the respect of the nation. Congratulations!