Friday, 20 January 2023

It is Rod’s and my great pleasure to welcome you to Government House for the Australia Day awards.

Thank you, Uncle Michael O’Brien, for your warm Welcome to Country.

I am particularly pleased that we can gather together in the lead up to Australia Day, after having to delay the ceremony last year due to COVID.

Some of you have come a long way to be here, and I thank you for joining us.

Australia Day is an important time for us as a community to reflect on what is means to be an Australian.

As a nation we are seated within an ancient landscape and ancient culture. A nation that has evolved with many faces, many voices, and many opinions.

We are indeed lucky that that diversity of thought and richness of traditions, both old and more recent, can be explored in an environment of respect and openness rather than division and rancour.

That is one of the great attributes of our nation as we acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and chart our future in the spirit of reconciliation, while championing opportunity, diversity and inclusion.

In my first year as Governor, Rod and I have been invited to present many awards to high achieving South Australians.

We have been both impressed and humbled by the sense of community and commitment demonstrated by so many of the people we have met.

In South Australia, we do care. I learned that in my formative years in here and have been heartened to have it reinforced by the example of others every day since my return.

South Australians have a sense of community to be proud of, exemplified by a deeply rooted culture of volunteering.

We are celebrating that today.

I congratulate and thank all the award recipients for giving the generous gift of your time to make our community strong. You are the heart of our nation.

While I know you are not motivated by the thought of recognition, please be aware this is one way your friends, peers and wider community can say thank you.

Please be proud of what you do, because we are proud of you.

I also thank the Australia Day Council of South Australia for co-ordinating these awards and enabling us to recognise our unsung heroes.

Again, congratulations to all whose achievements reflect the very best of our nation.