Presentation of Governor’s Portrait
Griffith University Chancellor; Mr Henry Smerdon AM; Deputy Chancellor, the Honourable Andrew Fraser; Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans; Pro Vice Chancellor, Griffith Health, Professor Analise O’Donovan; Director of the Centre for Environment and Population Health, Professor Cordia Chu AM; Acting Executive Director, Office of the Deputy Director-General Prevention Division, Queensland Health, Ms Yvonne Li; Councillor for MacGregor Ward, Steven Huang; Artist, Mr Jack Zhipeng Wu; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of these lands, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people joining us today.
I feel quite overwhelmed by the generosity of the remarks made this afternoon by Professor Evans, Jack Wu, and the Alumni of the Centre for Environment and Population Health.
It is a rare privilege to receive such accolades and I sincerely thank the University, especially Professor Chu, who not only approached me on Jack’s behalf and organised those wonderful video messages, but who has also ensured that the audience here today represents the diversity of the University and the communities it serves.
While I am no longer Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, the health of all Queenslanders remains a core commitment of mine and I will do all I can in my position as Governor to continue to promote the activities and research that will ensure their wellbeing, including the excellent work of Griffith University and of this centre.
My close association with the University for more than a decade as an Adjunct Professor and as a member of the Health Group Advisory Board gave me great admiration for the men and women who have dedicated their careers to the interdisciplinary translational research that is done here.
I treasure the strong relationships I have been able to build within this community; with Professor Chu and her team, and with those I have taught and mentored. I’ve always truly felt welcomed as a member of the Centre family.
I felt very humbled when Professor Chu asked if I would allow Jack to paint my portrait as his entry for the 2022 Archibald Prize; just as I feel very humbled today to be invited to unveil the portrait in such distinguished company.
I am absolutely delighted with the portrait. Thank you, Jack. You are truly a great talent.
As Professor Evans has mentioned, as Chief Health Officer, I received a Public Service Medal and an honorary doctorate from this University, and, most recently, was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for my service to the people of Queensland.
But, as everyone here in a leadership position understands, success is rarely, if ever, achieved solely through individual effort. We need teams of people around us to provide support and share our vision. As Sir Isaac Newton famously said, “…if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
This portrait is therefore much more than recognition of anything I may have done as Chief Health Officer; it is acknowledgement of the contribution made by every individual working in the health sector to ensure the welfare and safety of Queenslanders. For that, I am immensely thankful.