True Relationships and Reproductive Health - 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Commissioner for the Queensland Family and Child Commission, Commissioner Natalie Lewis; True Relationships & Reproductive Health Chair, Ms Natalie Bain, the Board of Directors, and CEO, Ms Karen Struthers; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you, Songwoman Maroochy, for your warm Welcome to Country. I would also like to begin by acknowledging 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 this evening.
I am delighted to join you all at this special Gala Dinner to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of True Relationships & Reproductive Health in Queensland.
In early December 2021, I attended the High Tea launch of this milestone year, and tonight’s splendid event is its culmination, as the organisation enters its 51st year.
It has been an honour, as Patron, to be part of the festivities, and to continue my connection to True, which began much earlier, when I was Chief Health Officer of Queensland.
These past five decades have seen significant and welcome changes in our attitudes to sexual and reproductive health, and our views on relationships—yet even before Family Planning Queensland opened the doors of its first clinic in March 1972, it was met with complexities and obstacles that required immense determination and courage.
Limited funds and a small support base were just some of the early struggles, compounded by a social environment, that at the time, resisted the notion that these aspects of physical and emotional health are fundamental contributors to a person’s overall wellbeing.
Despite challenges, these fifty years have seen True grow—from that first Clinic in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley—to become our State’s leading provider of essential sexual and reproductive health services.
Its extensive education program reaches into our State’s schools, communities, and healthcare system to ensure that everyone—regardless of age, location, sexual identity, or cultural background—is able to receive quality, qualified information.
And its counseling services offer valuable advice to those impacted by sexual violence.
What makes this organisation so crucial to the wellbeing of all Queenslanders is reflected in its own name—True—which carries profound meaning.
“True” denotes qualities of sincerity, honesty, and reliability. It characterises the need to conform to facts—to be accurate and trustworthy, while at the same time being loyal and faithful.
I can think of no better name to call an organisation that has successfully helped so many Queenslanders, over so many years, receive expert compassionate care; has delivered balanced health information, and advocated so strongly to ensure improved access for all.
For this, we must pay tribute to those first amazing individuals who fought to establish the organisation, and see it grow; those who have helped it expand over its history, and those who today, honour the True legacy with pride and commitment, as it continues to flourish.
I commend the current Board and leadership team, staff and all volunteers for your incredible contribution to this outstanding organisation, and wish you every success as you head into the next 50 years.
Enjoy the celebrations.