Speech at a Reception in Honour of the Official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Occasion: Reception in Honour of the Official Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Location: Jabiru, NT

Good afternoon all.

I am very pleased to welcome you as we recognise and celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia and Head of the Commonwealth.

As is our custom of deep respect, I acknowledge the Mirrar People - the traditional owners of the beautiful lands that surround us here in Jabiru this afternoon. I pay my deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Thank you all for coming along to this special event.

It means a lot to me to have the opportunity to host this function in Jabiru, and to spend time with you all this afternoon.

As you well know, this visit comes against the backdrop of the tragic events that occurred in Darwin on Tuesday evening. An incident which I know has shocked and shaken Territorians.

Events such as this remind us of the importance of strong, resilient and connected communities, which is evident here in Jabiru.

They also highlight the remarkably courageous work of front line responders in emergency situations.

I know a few of you here today are those remarkable people who work in front line roles. Police, paramedics, health workers, fire officers – you play a vital role, and a role which is certainly not easy.

On behalf of all Territorians I thank you for your commitment to our communities. Your contribution is recognised, and valued.

The tradition of the Queen’s Birthday is that on the first Saturday in June, in Whitehall in London, the Sovereign’s birthday is officially celebrated with the Trooping of the Colour. Across the Commonwealth, many celebrations take place, including our own right here today in Jabiru.

As you may know, I had the privilege of calling on Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in England earlier this year. Our conversation quickly turned to the time she has spent in Australia over the years, and her particularly fond memories of the Territory and the warmth of Territorians.

Her Majesty has visited the Territory five times over the course of her reign, in 1963, 1974, 1977, 1982 and 2000, recognising our unique culture and heritage. Her Majesty sent Territorians a personal message after my visit, which you can see framed just over there.

And so I feel it is fitting to recognise Her Majesty’s official birthday in Jabiru, a place where ancient culture and wisdom meets modern innovation and tourism.

This reception comes at the end of my visit to Jabiru, and I am pleased that so many of you have been able to attend today. I am pleased to see many familiar faces!

It has been an honour, during my time in this area to visit community organisations and businesses doing such important work within your local communities.

The health centre, school, police station, West Arnhem Regional Council, Jabiru Childcare Centre, CatholicCare, to name a few.

I also had a wonderful catch up with Jane Christophersen, a remarkable lady.

I thank all those who work for or support the organisations I mentioned for your hard work and valued contributions to the local community.

My visit to Gunbalanya on Wednesday was unfortunately postponed due to the events in Darwin – perhaps some Gunbalanya residents are here this afternoon? I thank all those who had volunteered their precious time to welcome me to the community.

I appreciate the time and effort it takes to prepare for public visits, and I appreciate your understanding under the circumstances. Please be assured that I very much look forward to rearranging my visit in the near future.

Spending time with Territorians is one of my very favourite parts of being your Administrator. It is important to me to learn about your stories, and your plans for the future.

And I particularly enjoy getting out of Darwin and visiting our more remote communities, to catch up with Territorians who live outside of the city centres.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy days to make me feel so welcome.

Each of you makes a unique, meaningful contribution to your community and to the Territory as a whole. Your work is recognised, and valued.

Please enjoy this reception. I look forward to speaking with you all.

But first, please join me in the loyal toast:

Raise your glasses, ladies and gentlemen…