The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Queen's Birthday Honours List Investitures.
Tuesday 4 September & Wednesday 5 September 2018
Award recipients and 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 any Elders here with us today.
Tony and I are delighted to welcome you all to Government House.
It is an important occasion.
First, because it enables all of us present, and those watching via livestream, to hear the reading of your citations. They so vividly showcase the talent, clever ideas and hard work that each one of you – our recipients – has shared with our State and our nation.
But it is also an important occasion from several other perspectives.
It is important for you to allow yourselves some time just to pause, and to reflect on your special contributions that have been recognised within our Australian honours system.
It is important too for the opportunity to acknowledge your families, your colleagues and your friends – for supporting you, for adding to your will to succeed, and in many instances for ensuring that you were freed from other responsibilities in order to pursue your purpose.
But above all, it is important that your community has the opportunity to thank each one of you.
It is not lost on me that I am the fortunate one to be able to do that today, on behalf of all your fellow Victorians.
Now, I know, from the correspondence that I receive, and from talking with people on Investiture days, that many recipients are a little embarrassed by all the fuss.
And it is even clearer that none of the recipients have been motivated in their outstanding work by the prospect of such recognition.
Nevertheless, I want to say to you that the recognition really does matter.
It matters because in thanking you, we shine a light on the skill, the altruism and the goodness, that enriches us all. And, most importantly, that inspires others to do their best in their own pursuits.
We are a nation with so much for which we can be grateful.
In my role as the Governor of Victoria, I often reflect on the privilege of our stable democracy. It underpins all that we are able to enjoy and achieve, individually as well as collectively in Victoria and across Australia.
And as someone who, like millions of other Australians, had a parent born overseas, I have never taken for granted the opportunities and the freedoms and rights that this country allows.
I have always believed, however, that it is the contribution of our finest, most committed and most generous community members that will help make our nation the best it can be.
You are what President Teddy Roosevelt described as the men and women ‘in the arena’, in his famous speech about citizenship, delivered just over a century ago.
He spoke of credit belonging to the person:
‘…. who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; …. who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….’
You have all ‘dared greatly’, and to our community’s advantage, you have achieved.
I wonder then if I might just ask three more things of you today.
The first is that you continue to wear your medals or pins. Do not be shy about that. As you go about your lives and business, they will provide a touchpoint of inspiration to others.
Secondly, please think about recommending others for these awards. In our diverse community, we all encounter people from different backgrounds, different lines of work or volunteering, different cultural backgrounds and different locations. And, of course, women as well as men.
Let’s each continue to do what we can do to ensure that our Australian honours fully reflect our whole community.
And the third and final thing that I ask of you is that you relax and enjoy today. Relax into the occasion. Enjoy the accolades. Allow us to have the pleasure of thanking you.
We do thank you for ‘Advancing Australia’, and for embodying the Victorian State motto by contributing in all your different ways to our ‘Peace and Prosperity’.