Speech given by the Governor of Victoria at the Australia Day 2019 Honours Investiture Ceremonies.
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.
This is a wonderful occasion.
This ceremony gives each one of us in this magnificent State Ballroom – Tony and I, our Government House staff and volunteers, as well as our guests, and those watching via livestream - a ring-side seat from which to view the very best of human endeavour, talent, goodness and kindness.
I am certain that not one of you – our recipients – ever set about your exceptional work in order to be recognised in this way. And many of you will feel humbled, if not downright embarrassed by all this fuss.
May I tell you though, that this recognition is not just frippery, or praise for its own sake. It matters.
It matters because it is a hallmark of a strong nation that we take the time to pause, to recognise and to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to those who have made our community stronger by their excellence and their special contributions.
It matters too because we know that when we draw attention to those special contributions - your efforts - we will inspire others.
Some of you have excelled on the international stage. You have upped Australia’s stocks in that global context.
Some of you have dedicated yourselves to improving or promoting a particular industry, profession, organisation or activity.
Others have operated in a distinct geographical area: the lifeblood of your communities and those around you.
Our Honours system recognises that full range of contributions and our diverse contributors.
May I suggest that each one of you - a proven leader in your field or location - is ideally placed to use your sphere of influence to nominate others who are worthy of recognition – women as well as men, those from the regions as well as the cities and those from all the different backgrounds that make up our State.
We are all the richer when our Australian honours and awards truly represent who we are.
I have two other requests of our recipients today.
The first is that you wear your medals or pins. Not just today, but on a regular basis. Do not be shy about that. They will provide an important touchpoint of inspiration to others.
The second request is the most important. We ask you to relax into this occasion today. Enjoy it. Enjoy the accolades.
Naturally, you feel grateful to your families, friends and the colleagues who have supported you in a myriad of ways that have led you to this point. Your gratitude is not misplaced. Not many of us can achieve all alone.
But today is about you.
Do not deflect the glory. Enjoy the praise. Allow us to have the pleasure of thanking you.
Thanking you for ‘Advancing Australia’, and for embodying the Victorian State motto by contributing in all your different ways to our ‘Peace and Prosperity’.