GOVERNOR GENERAL SWEARING-IN
FRIDAY, 28 MARCH 2014
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet and pay my respects to their elders both past and present.
Your Excellency, on behalf of the Opposition and indeed all Australians, I congratulate you on your appointment as our 26th Governor-General.
Another great commander who became a statesman, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, famously said of his first Cabinet meeting:
‘It was an extraordinary affair. I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them.’
Your Excellency, rest assured, when a Governor-General speaks, Australia will listen.
We look to you to as a guardian of our Constitution and a representative of the values and love of country that we all share.
A responsibility you will fulfil with distinction.
On the day your appointment was announced, you spoke of your wish to travel widely and engage with Australians everywhere, particularly Indigenous Australians in our remote communities.
This is an admirable ambition – proof that, like your immediate predecessor, you will be a Governor-General for all Australians.
Your Excellency, you bring to this role a magnificent record of service to our nation.
Decorated for courage in action in Vietnam, commanding in East Timor, acclaimed appropriately for the compassion of the work in cyclone-struck Queensland and honoured as Australian of the Year.
Australians have long associated the name of General Peter Cosgrove with leadership, with strength, with decency, with compassion.
We have always admired you – and our nation now has the fortunate chance to get to know you even better.
I look forward to more Australians discovering your empathy, your sense of humour, your booming warmth.
You will have a particularly central role to play during the coming years as we commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
I can think of no better person more fitting to salute the courage and sacrifice of Australian ANZACs.
Today all Australians also welcome your wife Lynne to her new place in public life.
And I wish to place on record my appreciation, not only to Lynne, but the entire Cosgrove family for lending us your Peter and your Lynne to the whole of Australia for the next number of coming years. It is a great gift.
All of us in public office depend on the love and support of our families – the person to whom we are always more than a title or a role.
Your Excellency, all Australians welcome you to our highest office, we wish you well in the years ahead.
We know that you will serve our country with honour, with compassion and with humility – you always have.
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