Queensland Club Governor's Dinner 2022
Former Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, The Honourable Robert Gotterson AO QC and Mrs Helen Gotterson; Mr Tim Fairfax AC and Mrs Gina Fairfax AC; President of The Queensland Club, Dr Ted McArdle; Vice President, Mr Will Earnshaw and General Manager, Mr Paul Wilsher; distinguished guests.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
May I also extend thanks to the wonderful Camerata, for their rousing performance earlier. You make me very proud to be your Patron.
Graeme and I are delighted to join you this evening for this special dinner at the Queensland Club—a place that is so intrinsically linked to the birth of our State itself. Thank you for inviting me to share with you some of my experiences as Queensland’s 27th Governor.
While my role as the Queen’s representative only began in November last year, your Club formed over 162 years ago, preceding—I believe—the swearing in of the very first Governor of Queensland, Sir George Bowen, by four days.
The prominent businessman, and first owner of the current Government House—John Heussler—was also a founding member, so the Vice-Regal ties to The Queensland Club are very strong indeed.
Back in 1859, our population numbered just over 23,500 people and Sir George’s wife, Diamantina, was reportedly the only Greek woman in the entire colony.
Now, our State is home to over 5 million people and enjoys the vibrancy and dynamism that multiculturalism brings, with 20 per cent of Queenslanders speaking a language other than English at home.
Of course, Queensland has not only grown in size, but in what it has to offer the world—whether that is through our natural assets, or the extraordinary talents and expertise of our people, including—no doubt—those with us here this evening.
Last month, Graeme and I spent a busy two weeks in Germany and the United Kingdom, promoting Queensland to diverse audiences, and hearing, first-hand, the incredible warmth, enthusiasm and excitement people have for our State.
I was proud to have the opportunity to endorse our exceptional credentials in trade and investment—especially in key sectors such as infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, innovative technologies and the Arts.
A topic of immense interest is green hydrogen, particularly in Germany, which is the world leader in the technology required for its production, processing and storage.
Just last night, I hosted a dinner in support of the development of a major green hydrogen production and export facility at Raglan, near Gladstone, in follow up to an introductory meeting coordinated in London by Agent-General for Queensland, Mr Dave Stewart and the team at Trade and Investment Queensland.
Because of Queensland’s outstanding wind and solar capabilities, our State is spearheading the production and export of this commodity in Australia, and so our bonds with Germany and the UK continue to strengthen—relationships that will benefit our State for years to come.
The Arts sector is also attracting significant attention, and rightly so. I firmly believe our gifted artists, musicians, dancers and performers are world-class, and deserve our support and gratitude for enriching all of our lives, and for helping to make Queensland such a vibrant place.
Flagship organisations like the Queensland Ballet, Queensland Theatre, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Opera Queensland, QAGOMA and the Brisbane Festival, are driving this visibility globally, as people from around the world come to Queensland to attend their spectacular events.
Our local screen industry is shining brighter than ever, while international productions, such as Elvis, are showcasing Queensland’s reputation for providing first-rate infrastructure and skills in this area.
These achievements, alongside the abundant smaller expressive endeavours taking place in every community in our State, make me incredibly proud.
While overseas—aside from trade and Arts interests, and a busy schedule of meetings and tours—Graeme and I were also fortunate to represent Queensland at the opening of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, joining the Official Party to support our top athletes.
In fact, our State performed so magnificently at the Games, that I’m told that if Queensland was a nation in its own right, we would have finished above the rest of Australia in the medal tally!
From Rhodes House in Oxford, to Pembroke College in Cambridge, Graeme and I were constantly in the awe of the outstanding and inspiring Queenslanders who are representing our State further afield, excelling in healthcare, as entrepreneurs, in the Arts, in law, in academia, IT, and in making global cities better places to live.
These recent experiences abroad demonstrate how the quality and variety of Queensland’s attributes are generating terrific success, and I could not be more honoured to be Governor at this time.
I know that the current members of the Queensland Club are very much a part of this success, and always have been, throughout Queensland’s history. Those first members, who met to form the Club on the 6th of December 1859 in the Exchange Rooms in North Brisbane, made a lasting impression on the development and advancement of this State.
Now, your ongoing and impressive contributions, across an extensive range of fields, continue to help Queensland thrive.