Thursday, 4 August 2022

Rod and I welcome you all to Government House. It is our great pleasure to host this reception for the General Sir John Monash Foundation and to honour the two newest scholars from South Australia.

When the Foundation was established in 2001, it had a bold mission – to encourage academic excellence amongst our brightest people, and in doing so, foster their leadership abilities and their capacity to contribute to Australian society.

This mission was in fine tribute to General Sir John Monash, an exceptional Australian who in addition to his remarkable military service, used his personal skills and his qualifications in engineering, arts, and the law for the betterment of the broader community.

Since 2001, 233 scholarships have been awarded, 19 of those to South Australians. In this way a valuable investment has been made in those who will help guide our nation’s future in many and varied endeavours.

Undoubtedly, the challenges facing our nation and indeed the globe are complex, and will require tenacity, commitment and talented, questioning minds to produce sustainable solutions.

Climate change, the pandemic, pollution, access to clean food, water and medicine, and regional security, are among today’s many pressing issues that need solutions, new thinking and inclusive leadership.

During the 10 months that I have served as Governor, Rod and I have had the privilege of visiting many of our scientific and educational institutions and businesses and are pleased, if not necessarily surprised, to learn that they are at the forefront of innovation.

This has given both of us a real sense of confidence that South Australians have the ideas and the capability to continue on what I already sense is an upward trajectory in tackling today’s needs and those that we have yet to encounter.

To Darcy and Rebecca, I congratulate you on being awarded this year’s John Monash Scholarships.

I am delighted that Darcy, who is a medical device researcher, currently studying at Flinders University, will pursue a D.Phil in Engineering Science at Oxford University.

His work will focus on creating technologies for use in medical implants in the relatively new field of implantable ultrasound.

Rebecca will also study at Oxford to complete a Master of Business Administration and intends to return to Northern Australia and use her skills in business modelling to redesign how allied health services are provided in isolated locations.

I might mention that Rod, also an Oxford graduate, warmly endorses your choice of institution.

We will hear more about Darcy and Rebecca’s aspirations shortly.

Overall, the calibre of Australian scholars is very high and reflects the breadth and diversity of Sir General John Monash’s own talents and achievements.

Significantly, all the scholars not only are outstanding university graduates, but all possess significant leadership potential.

While the scholarship bestows the opportunity to gain vast expertise, and skills, contributing to what is often termed “horizontal” leadership, it also provides an opportunity for scholars to develop leadership vertically, that is to increase their capacity for leadership.

Through partnering collaboratively with others, by sharing information, seeking out and listening to the inputs of those in diverse fields and people at all leadership levels we can create a dynamic pool of expertise on which to draw.

As Governor, I seek actively to encourage our leaders both current and emerging to look widely when developing their ideas and expanding their expertise.

Rod and I thank the Foundation for fostering our brightest minds; those whose overseas study will benefit Australia’s future and develop our international networks and capabilities.

We also thank those who stand behind the foundation - governments, universities, business and private philanthropists who help make this possible.

You are making a substantial contribution to building a better future.