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Introduction

Speech by Victoria's Governor at the Order of Australia Bravery Awards

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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 afternoon.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you all here to Government House for the Investiture of the Order of Australia Bravery Awards.

These awards – established in 1975 – have acknowledged the courageous and selfless acts of bravery in our community for almost 45 years.

As Governor, an Investiture such as this is one of the most uplifting and rewarding aspects of my role.

It provides an opportunity to recognise the many Victorians who, have put their own lives on the line to protect or save the life of others.

As you have heard, their bravery has shown no bounds.

Some of those being recognised today have acted within our State: others, outside it, as far away as Europe. Some have shown their bravery in recent events: others, longer ago, in World War 2. And, amongst them all, they have faced a range of perils.

What is brought home to us is that each has paid a price, in the course of assisting others.

Some have paid the ultimate price. The five war heroes recognised posthumously today, died, having knowingly put themselves in harm’s way, specifically to help and save many others.

Some have themselves been injured in the course of assisting others.

And we know too that not every award recipient today was able to succeed in their brave quest to help another. There is no doubt that the loved ones nevertheless remain profoundly grateful for the extraordinary efforts that were made. So too does the community.

We are mindful that, as well as celebrating our recipients, we also offer full support to them, as we reflect upon the trauma of such unexpected and frightening events.

Of course, our thoughts and support are also with those who were caught up in the events that we have heard about today. We know many still bear the scars, and yet have wanted to be here to show their gratitude to those whose courage is being recognised. Thank you for your own courage in that regard.

And so, whilst all sorts of emotions are stirred in this room, it is important that we are here.

You, the recipients have shown what a good and strong community should be and, indeed, can be. Caring, supportive, compassionate and brave.

You inspire us all to be better.

On behalf of all Victorians, I thank and commend you for your acts of bravery. And ask you now to enjoy your time at Government House. Tony and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible after the ceremony.