Feature Image

A speech given by the Governor at the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership's 25th Anniversary Reception


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 any Elders here with us this evening.

Tony and I welcome you to Government House.

We are delighted to be celebrating the 25th anniversaries of the Cranlana Programme and the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship, which have together formed the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership.

I am pleased for the opportunity to say a few words about each one of them.

I feel a great affinity with the Cranlana programme.

First, because Cranlana is, like Government House, a beautiful home, and one that people enjoy visiting to admire the architectural beauty, the magnificent gardens and the history that is etched into every corner.

But, most importantly, because with Cranlana, just like with Government House, it is what happens in these stately buildings that matters most.

For us, it is our purpose to protect the important traditions and principles of this role, whilst ensuring that it is relevant to contemporary Victoria and all Victorians. My work, as the Governor of Victoria, is directed towards a strong Victoria, constitutionally, economically, socially and culturally.

That in fact aligns very closely with the work and purpose of the Cranlana Programme.

Conceived to help influential leaders ‘find new ways forward in revisiting old wisdoms and encouraging new discussions’, what a great contributor this program has been to our State.

I have known it since its inception. Although never fortunate enough to complete the program as a participant, in the early days I did attend as a guest speaker.

Well, I have certainly changed a great deal across the many years since then. So has the program.

Well, it has, and it hasn’t.

It has changed because the vision has evolved and expanded.

Nearly 5000 leaders from business, government, the arts and beyond have taken place in one of its hundreds of courses, and we welcome many alumni who are with us this evening.

And yet, the Cranlana Programme has not changed, in the sense that the initial vision - to create better thinkers and to cultivate ethical wisdom in leadership - still holds true, 25 years after it started.

The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship has also supported the growth of ethical leadership in the private and public sectors across the past 25 years, offering diverse groups a confidential setting in which to engage openly about the ethical challenges in their organisations.

Having joined forces, Cranlana and the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship have formed the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership (CCEL).

And so – effectively – we have not only two 25th anniversaries to celebrate, but a marriage as well. As strange as that sounds, as a former Family Court Judge, nothing to do with marriages or anniversaries can ever surprise me!

The Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership is truly a testament to the generosity that resides in our nation. That is, the philanthropy, but also the vision, of some of our most generous families.

The Cranlana Programme was initiated by the Myer Family, financially supported by it for its first decade and, of course, housed in the Myer’s beautiful family home.

The Vincent Fairfax Fellowship was established to honour Sir Vincent’s outstanding leadership in business and voluntary commitments, and his interest in encouraging good leadership based on a sound ethical framework.

And now it has been announced that they join forces further - with Monash University - Australia’s biggest university, and one that is in leading international rankings in many impressive and various spheres.

The Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership will thus widen its range of participants, increase its national reach, better connect its alumni and be enriched by the resources, expertise and integration that Monash can offer.

Thank you to all those who have helped to arrive at this point.

Thank you to Lady Southey AC, Baillieu Myer AC and the Myer family and Michael Liffman, who worked tirelessly to start the Cranlana Programme.

Thank you to the CCEL Chair, Kim Williams AM, former Chairs, CEO Vanessa Pigrum and staff.

Thank you too, to the Fairfax family, particularly Sally and Geoffrey White, who brought life to the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship.

Thank you too, to the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Foundation Chair Angus White, CEO Jenny Wheatley and staff.

And I do want to thank Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, and all those who have been instrumental in championing the new partnership between CCEL and Monash.

Thank you for what each of you has contributed and will contribute.

Above all thank you for your commitment to ethical leadership. Thank you for your collaborative philanthropy.

Thank you for the opportunities you so generously provide to our current and future leaders, and through them to the ‘peace and prosperity’ of our State – and beyond our borders.