Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Speech by the Governor-General at the presentation of the ACT Scouts awards, the Queen's Scout Award and the Baden-Powell Award: Government House, Yarralumla: 15 October 2004. \n\n



Download PDFDownload PDF

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY

MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC (Retd) GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA PRESENTATION OF THE ACT SCOUTS AWARDS THE QUEEN’S SCOUT AWARD AND THE BADEN-POWELL AWARD

GOVERNMENT HOUSE FRIDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2004

Awardees Their families and friends Mr Neville Tomkins, Chief Commissioner, Scouts ACT Senior representatives of Scouts Ladies and gentlemen Boys and Girls

Marlena and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House, and to say what a great pleasure it is to have presented the Queen’s Scout Awards and the Baden-Powell award.

I am very honoured - as Governor-General - to hold the position of Chief Scout. I don’t accept that responsibility or honour lightly. Indeed I think Scouts Australia is an outstanding organisation, open to all young people, regardless of their ability, cultural background, religion beliefs or gender.

In the Queen’s Award and Baden-Powell awards recipients I see an expression of what I’ve been talking about for some time - striving to be a ‘nation of excellence’ - in everything we do.

Lianne, Brendan, Sally, Kate, Yelena, Sophie and Carl, you contribute substantially to that aspiration by serving as outstanding role models within the Scouting movement and amongst the wider community.

Planning and organising expeditions, working to clean up Australia, mapping, assessing and revegetating areas of environmental importance, developing websites, researching and writing on comparative religions, travelling to Pacific Islands to renovate educational facilities, working with dementia sufferers - what an extraordinarily diverse range of activities by gifted, committed young Australians.

Your actions speak for themselves, and you truly exemplify the words of Lord Baden-Powell, who wrote in one of his last letters: “The most worthwhile thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.” I see no undue sentimentality in his observation, rather his lifelong conviction about one of the key fundamentals of living, of contributing to and enriching one’s society and nation. In other words, improving the human condition.

You have also put yourselves under test -in accepting responsibility for developing self-reliance, initiative, problem-solving skills, leadership, mentoring capacities, clear thinking and selflessness - serious business I know, but throughout it all, many opportunities for good humour and for enjoying the companionship of your peers.

I’ve had a lengthy association with the Scouting movement, and I remain a strong supporter of what it stands for and what it achieves.

I have long believed that if every young Australian, from age 12 to 17, could be encouraged to belong to a well-led youth group such as the Scouts, there would be far fewer social problems within our society.

I see ACT Scouts as a wonderful community role model. Under the leadership of the Chief Commissioner ACT, tremendous work is being done in revamping programs to make them more interesting and appropriate to the modern day; the Commissioner and his team have substantially improved membership numbers, and together with the scout leaders continue to make a positive and worthy investment in Australia’s future.

Marlena and I wish you all, but especially today’s awardees, their families, leaders and units, every success in your individual and collective endeavours.

Thank you.