Red Rose Foundation’s High Tea International Women’s Day 2023
Members of Parliament, Ms Corrine McMillan MP, Ms Melissa McMahon MP, Mr Joe Kelly MP, Mr James Martin MP and Ms Charis Mullen MP; Philippine Honorary Consul to Queensland, Ms Sheryll Gabutero; Queensland Corrective Services Commissioner, Mr Paul Stewart APM; Red Rose Foundation Chair Ms Di Macleod, the Board of Directors, and Managing Director and CEO, Ms Betty Taylor; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you, Aunty Janis Page for your moving Welcome to Country. I would also like to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane—the Turrbal and Jagera people— and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here today.
As Governor of Queensland and Patron of the Red Rose Foundation, it is an honour to be attending today’s special high tea to celebrate the remarkable women—including all of you—who are making life-saving differences to others through your actions, advocacy and solidarity.
Sadly, and all too often, we hear horrific stories of situations in the home where coercion, control, fear and violence, and an imbalance in strength and power result in significant injuries, or tragically, the loss of life.
We know it is women who are most likely to suffer the worst of these dangerous relationships, and who are therefore left to carry the physical and psychological scars throughout their lives.
The individual stories are confronting, yet it is essential we hear them, because the insidious nature of domestic violence reaches deeply into our communities—amplifying and extending its damaging effects—and it therefore relies on all of us to forge necessary change, through our words and our deeds.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme “Embrace Equity” is one that is not new to “Queensland Great” Betty Taylor and her dedicated Red Rose Foundation team.
For more than 30 years, Betty has devoted her energy to ensuring that women are treated equitably in our society—in all ways—but most notably in her quest to prevent domestic violence-related deaths in our country.
For at-risk women, the Red Rose Foundation truly is a lifeline, a source of tremendous wisdom and support, and a devoted, steadfast friend.
Across Australia, the work of the Red Rose Foundation provides practical assistance, education and training, builds partnerships to drive innovation, gives a voice to survivors and their families, and raises awareness through Red Rally events and the symbolic Red Benches, that now number close to 400 nationwide.
Initiatives such as Australia’s first and only Strangulation Trauma Centre and the changes to make non-fatal strangulation a specific criminal offence in our State highlight the organisation’s determination to make a lasting impact.
Yet perhaps most importantly—and especially in the light of the celebratory nature of today’s event—the work of the Red Rose Foundation generates enormous hope.
I am therefore delighted to shortly be presenting the organisation’s inaugural International Women’s Day Award today to a very special and inspirational woman, who has worked tirelessly to enhance the safety, status and equality of women over many years.
For now, I commend the Board, Executive team, staff and volunteers of the Red Rose Foundation for all you do for women in our State and beyond, and thank everyone here for taking the time to attend this spectacular high tea.
Together, “let’s change the ending” of the stories we find so difficult to hear.
In conclusion, it’s my great privilege to present a Certificate of Patronage to the Red Rose Foundation, Chair, Ms Di Macleod. Thank you.