Thursday, 15 February 2024

SA Public Service Medal Association

Rod and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House, and trust you have proud memories of being in the ballroom and receiving your Public Service Medals, or as guests, witnessing your family member being honoured.

I will be delighted to honour five more Public Service Medal recipients at a ceremony here at Government House in a few months’ time.

Each, like yourselves, have made an indelible mark on the areas they serve.

From the outset, let me affirm that I have deep admiration for those who choose a career in public service.

Not only because I have worked with so many outstanding public servants over the course of my career, but because public servants are the custodians of the values that make our society strong: honesty and integrity, courage and tenacity, respect, professionalism in giving frank and fearless advice.

That is equally so whether your contributions are in service delivery or policy development. In both, quality of work, commitment and integrity contribute greatly to the quality of government, and flowing from that, the future of South Australia.

I have been impressed to witness this in action many times in my interactions as Governor with you in your professional roles.

And for those here who have left the public service, I know you carry those aspirations to contribute forward with you in your current endeavours.

As a public servant – and indeed in my current role – my motivation for achievement was and is underpinned by the profound conviction that that it is a privilege to serve.

On one level, this is as simple as a desire to play one’s role, to the best of one’s abilities, in building a fair, safe, and prosperous society.

On another, it is a recognition that I was given a good start in life by my parents and educators, and a desire to give back in a tangible way.

I know many others have similar backgrounds, motivations and aspirations.

In that regard, I pay particular tribute to your Patron, Sue Vardon, whom I have long admired for her commitment to public service.

Public servants face many challenges and obstacles on the road to achievement: the sheer scale and complexity of many public policy problems; the political/apolitical interface with ministers and parliament; public opinion, magnified by the reach and immediacy of social media; and constrained resource environments, among many others.

These challenges were never more evident than in responding to the pandemic.

This emergency tested long-term resolve, required collaboration and being flexible in response. It was important to ensure the most vulnerable weren’t left behind and to gain and maintain public support.

I know many public servants over that time demonstrated a deep sense of commitment and an unwavering pursuit of getting the job done, as they do every day.


Alongside networking, the Public Service Medal Association, over 32 years has provided a valuable resource to share ideas and expertise as well as enjoy the company of like-minded people.

I commend the committee, both current and past, for your work in shaping the association and ensuring its relevance to Public Service Medal recipients.

Of course, the strength of any organisation lies with its members.

I urge all of you to consider from your own perspective how you can encourage others to join, and in that way grow and strengthen the association.

Constant renewal is the lifeblood of any organisation.

It is in your hands to shape it.

Because in the room tonight we have a wealth of expertise, and talent.

I wish the association well for the future.

Coming events