Quentin Bryce: We Australians intuitively know what serves us well

Share
Related Topics

I acknowledge the traditional keepers of this land on which we gather in our nation's capital; their successors, and those who have come before me: their dignified service; their diligence and pledge; their important efforts in recognising, encouraging, and unifying Australians. I feel deeply the gravity of the role bestowed on me today as I stand before you in this Senate Chamber.

This chamber is a place of representative assembly, of rigorous review and debate, an institution enshrined in our Constitution and central to our country's parliamentary democracy. It is my greatest pleasure now to be part of that institution, to serve as Australia's 25th Governor-General; to perform my responsibilities according to law and convention; and to reflect the ideals, values, expectations, and achievements of the Australian people.

We are an evolving and maturing society, our collective expression drawn from our passage, and our hopes for the future. Since Australian colonies first federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia over a century ago, every dimension of us has been touched: our social, cultural, intellectual, economic and political environments; our independence as a self-governing nation; our special sense of what it is to be Australian. Our experience of the privilege and duty of suffrage over many years – belatedly for our indigenous people – has made Australians savvy participants in our democratic system, and careful scrutineers of its performance and value.

We are informed and not afraid to question. We intuitively know what serves us well, and what therefore deserves our protection. Equally, we embrace change as a natural and necessary consequence of our evolution. Our growing capacity to balance tradition with renewal is a sure and uplifting sign of our standing as a sophisticated and highly functional civilised society, and member of the global community.

Underpinning that capacity are our respect for the dignity, worth, and human rights of every individual; our insistence on equality of access to justice and opportunity; our belief in each other's ability to contribute to our enrichment and endurance; and our abiding commitment to a fair and inclusive society.

These are exciting times for Australia. I want you to know that I take on this role with solemnity, impartiality, energy, and a profound love for the country we share. And, as I travel – over our rich and testing country, into the vibrant and struggling sectors of our community, to our rural and remote places, forever deep in my heart – I promise to be alive, open, responsive, and faithful to the contemporary thinking and working of Australian society.

Taken from a speech given last week by Australia's newly appointed – and first female – governor-general

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Administrator

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading and fastest ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sunroom / Conservatory / Extension Designers

£16000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Planning Assistant

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the count...

Recruitment Genius: Purchase Ledger Administrator

£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

'You’re just jealous', and other common misconceptions about the Protein World advert

Hannah Atkinson
David Cameron has said he is not going to “roll over” and let Labour leader Ed Miliband and the SNP’s Alex Salmond wreck the achievements of the last five years  

After five years of completely flaccid leadership, I'm glad something 'pumps up' David Cameron

Joe Sandler Clarke
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence