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An address on the occasion of the presentation of the General Sir John Monash Awards for 2006



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ADDRESS BY

HIS EXCELLENCY MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

ON THE OCCASION OF

THE PRESENTATION OF THE GENERAL SIR JOHN MONASH AWARDS FOR 2006

GOVERNMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

7 DECEMBER 2005

• General Peter Gration, Founding Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation and Mrs Gration • The Honourable Doctor Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training • The Honourable John Brumby, Treasurer of Victoria • Her Excellency the Right Honourable Helen Liddell, British High Commissioner • The winners of the General Sir John Monash Awards, their families and friends • Directors, members and supporters of the Foundation • Distinguished guests all

Marlena and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for this special occasion. As Governor-General and Patron of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, it has been an absolute privilege to have presented the awards for 2006.   It seems to me that our awardees are the very types of people that General Sir John Monash strove to elevate during his life as a leader - on and off the battlefield.   If we extrapolate Monash's famous line, "feed the troops on victory" with "feeding the nation on excellence", Australia's future is guaranteed through the first-class opportunities being created for bright, thinking young leaders to flourish.   It's something of an understatement to say that the 2006 Award winners are accomplished and remarkable young people. In so many extraordinary, convincing ways they are much more.   In health, medical research, linguistics, social justice, law, engineering, cryptanalysis, and the humanities, they exhibit a passion for knowledge and excellence - both of which they want to share.   And in each of them I perceive those wonderful characteristics of generosity of spirit, nous and a passionate desire to put service above self.   In so doing, the awardees display the very qualities of the man the awards honour - General Sir John Monash. His lifetime commitment to learning and excellence was driven by his thirst for knowledge and by what he saw as the essentiality of a well-educated people if Australia was to prosper in the long term.   Sir John also saw education as having value and application beyond simply one's personal intellectual fulfilment and career. As he said in 1920: "The privilege of education carries great responsibilities - it is given not for individual benefit alone, but to befit persons for the higher duties of citizenship and for roles of leadership in all fields to make Australia great."   And that is why within this context of citizenship and leadership - where the two are necessarily linked - that I strongly support The General Sir John Monash Awards, and congratulate all those responsible for its success, including the Board, sponsors, selection panel, and other supporters.  

These valuable awards help seed nation building by developing outstanding young Australians as future

leaders in their fields and as future leading citizens.   They underwrite a 50-year vision that today recognises the benefits to our nation of international study, the power of networking, and how to nurture and reap the very best from linkages with the global community.   The awards highlight the critical importance of education to Australia if we are to fulfil our destiny as a "Nation of Excellence - the Global Example".   Ladies and gentlemen.   The swinging pendulum of times and conditions may cause us to change direction, to develop new strategies, to master new technologies, to develop new ways of finding solutions to old problems.   However, what should never change are the core values of leadership through citizenship - a sense of service above self, that is nourished through integrity, respect and sustained commitment.   Hsien, Mark, Kate, Justin, Aruna, Sally, Timothy and Bridget, we look to you to make a positive difference to the world through the liberating influence of education and constructive leadership.   The community is looking for participation and leadership that creates good economic, environmental and social order.   We have every confidence in your ability to step up to a new, exciting level of achievement - under the aegis of the General Sir John Monash Foundation.   We know you'll make the very best of this magnificent opportunity, that you'll develop intellectually and professionally, and that through the splendid opportunities now before you, you'll do great things for your country and indeed for the world. You embark on your next great learning adventure with our warmest best wishes.   And to General Peter Gration, the founding chairman, we extend our sincere thanks for his tremendous leadership since the launch of the Foundation in June 2002. And to everyone associated with the Awards, again well done.   Thank you.