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The Governor of Victoria's speech for the Science Public Lecture.


Professor Brendan Crabb AC, Director and CEO, Burnett Institute
Professor Sharon Lewin, Director, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Professor Alan Lopez AC, University of Melbourne Laureate Professor
Professor Caroline Homer AO, Co- Program Director, Maternal and Child Health, Burnet Institute
All distinguished guests

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 are so pleased to welcome you to Government House, for this Science Public Lecture on some of the major challenges in global health.

It is a particular pleasure for us to host a Public Lecture, providing us with another opportunity to open Government House,  to welcome those who might have been here in the past to quite different sorts of events, or, hopefully, to welcome some who might be here for the first time.

Across its more than 140 years, this ballroom has certainly experienced many and varied uses. Lavish balls in the late nineteenth century. Girls’ schooling in the depression. And a Red Cross packing HQ during the second World War.

In recent years, in addition to many large awards ceremonies and receptions, this space has seen Circus Oz performers swinging from trapeze bars between the chandeliers, and performing circus routines with children  newly arrived to Victoria.

It has seen Red Cross blood banks being held here, a STEM expo for girls, and discussions on important topics like mental health.

And it has seen scores of centenarians, celebrating their 100th birthdays with us, and 160 babies, representing the 160 years of the Royal Women’s Hospital serving the mums of Victoria.

This evening enables us to gather people from different parts of the community, to facilitate an important Public Lecture.

We have chosen to gather under the banner of science.

Scientists and scientific inquiry have shaped the environment in which we live, how we live and our understanding of ourselves, of others and of our planet.

We, in Victoria, are blessed with an extraordinary depth and breadth of scientific expertise. We are widely respected, for example, in the area of health, bioscience and medical technology.

Indeed, Melbourne is one of only three cities in the world to have two universities – the University of Melbourne and Monash University – ranked in the global top 30 for biomedical science. We are side by side with London and Boston.

Melbourne is home to a flourishing bio-science network that clusters those highly ranked universities, large teaching hospitals and research institutes.

We have renowned research bodies – like the Doherty Institute and the Burnet Institute – both born in Melbourne, both tackling some of our world’s greatest health challenges. This evening, through the generosity of their respective leaders, they have come together to help us all gain a better understanding of these important issues.

Professor Alan Lopez AC, University of Melbourne Laureate Professor, will give an overview of the major global health challenges of our time.

Professor Caroline Homer AO, from the Burnet Institute, will discuss some of the greatest global challenges facing maternal child health.

Professor Sharon Lewin, the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute, will talk about her work to pursue a cure for HIV.

And Professor Brendan Crabb AC, the Director and CEO of the Burnet Institute, will moderate the discussion.

We are grateful to Professors Crabb and Lewin in bringing this program together for us. They each work to support vulnerable populations across the world – and right here in Australia.

It is their work – and the work of those they lead - that contributes to the fairer, more equal, and the best possible health outcomes for the most people.

We trust that every one of us in this ballroom will leave this evening a little more enlightened about the challenges – and-

optimistic that innovative and effective solutions are being sought – given the expertise, talent and goodness of those here before us.

I leave you all in their very capable hands.