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Introduction

The Governor of Victoria's speech for the 2019 Victorian Australian of the Year Awards.

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Mr Frank McGuire MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research and for Small Business and Innovation, representing the Premier
Ms Danielle Roche OAM, Chair, National Australia Day Council
Ms Susan Alberti AC, Chair, Australia Day Council Victoria
Ms Karlie Brand, Chief Executive Officer, National Australia Day Council
2019 Victorian Australian of the Year nominees
Other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders here with us this evening. And I thank Aunty Joy for her warm Welcome to Country.

Tony and I are delighted to host you here at Government House, for the 2019 Victorian Australian of the Year Awards.

In my role as the Governor of the State, I have the good fortune to see the vast army of Victorians who dedicate their skills and their time to the peace and the prosperity of our State.

Those who selflessly help, care and advocate for others. Those who innovate, and those who inspire others in every possible field of endeavour.

In a nation in which we pride ourselves on our spirit of egalitarianism, sometimes it does not come naturally to us to celebrate individuals: to raise some above the pack, to single them out, to highlight their special contributions. 

But we must. We need to celebrate talent, good work and kindness. And the Australian of the Year Award, with its processes now honed across more than half a century, gives us a rich opportunity to do just that.

This evening we shall meet the nominees in the categories of the Victorian Australian of the Year, and the Senior, Young and Local Hero categories.

Each one of them has demonstrated excellence in their field, made a significant contribution to the nation, and been an outstanding role model for the Australian community. Each has been judged to be someone whose actions will encourage good citizenship in others.

Of course they cannot all be here in this room right now, but there are people, families and whole communities whose daily lives are the better for the contributions you have made.

In fact, your contributions lift us all. We are inspired by your example, and the impact of your good work is magnified through the others who follow your lead.

Thank you for all that you have done towards a strong Victoria, but also towards a strong, clever, more caring and compassionate nation.

In addition to applauding the finalists here today, I welcome the opportunity to commend the families, friends and colleagues who have supported them. Behind every individual is a team. So, thank you all for the support that you give, and the sacrifices that you make.

May I also thank those who have nominated this year’s finalists. You are the community’s crucial ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground. You have not only noticed the special contribution of those around you, but you have made your own contribution, by taking the time and trouble to call them out in this special way. 

And I must thank those who generously sponsor these awards, those in the Department of Premier and Cabinet who work hard towards them, and of course the judges, who deserve our sincere sympathy. It must be difficult indeed, judging the excellent among such outstanding excellence.

For those who receive the Victorian Australian of the Year awards this evening, we give you our warmest congratulations.  Please know that you carry every best and warmest wish with you to Canberra in January. But regardless of the outcome there, you have done your State proud, and we are grateful to you. 

It is now my pleasure to ask the Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research and for Small Business and Innovation, Mr Frank McGuire MP, representing the Premier to address us.