The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Jewish Holocaust Centre Morning Tea
Ms Sue Hampel OAM, Co-president, Jewish Holocaust Centre
Mrs Pauline Rockman OAM, Co-president, Jewish Holocaust Centre
Mr Warren Fineberg, Executive Director, Jewish Holocaust Centre
Ladies and gentlemen
First, I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we are gathering, and pay my respects to elders past and present and to any elders here with us today.
One of the great pleasures of the Governor’s role is the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the people in our community who help make it a better place for us all.
You, our guests this morning, are people that my husband Tony and I want to thank for making an enormous contribution that, for many of you, is far from easy, and is truly selfless.
Amongst us, as Victorians, there are people from over 200 different ethnic backgrounds, and 130 different faith groups.
We pride ourselves on living side by side in harmony and with respect for each other.
We enjoy one of the longest continuous democracies in the world.
We pride ourselves on all that it represents: stability, fairness and the rule of law.
But we must always remember that these are not things that we can take for granted. We can be proud of our achievements but we must be vigilant about the future.
We know that as a global community, a nation, a State and in our local communities, we can never fully understand where we need to head, if we don’t know from where we have come.
And this is why we are so grateful to the Jewish Holocaust Centre.
For nearly 35 years, the Centre has taught Victorians about the Holocaust, and focused on the critical importance of memory and memorialisation.
But your messages have been universal in their nature.
You have taught the almost 30,000 visitors every year (Jewish and non-Jewish alike), of the need to combat bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, bullying and hatred.
You have taught of the need to maintain a just society underscored by compassion and humanity, and the importance of cherishing the democratic institutions and values which characterise Australian life.
But you, the survivors, have taught us something more. You have shown us resilience and optimism and a preparedness to share your stories for the good of others.
Having heard your first hand stories, having seen and heard your strength, and having reinforced to them what must never happen again, visitors leave your Centre fortified in their desire to ensure that we all contribute to Victorian and Australian communities being a haven of unity and respect.
Thank you too to everyone associated with the Jewish Holocaust Centre, from the Co-Presidents and Board members, the Executive Director and staff, the team of education staff, donors and all those who volunteer or offer support in different ways.
Please enjoy your time here in this beautiful State House. We look forward to chatting with you shortly.