Speech – Swearing-In of Governor-General David Hurley – Parliament House, Canberra – Monday, 1 July 2019
Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the Prime Minister and Mrs Morrison, my parliamentary colleagues, members of the Defence Force past and present.
Let me begin by acknowledging the first Australians on whose land we meet. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.
Your Excellency, on behalf of the Parliamentary Labor Party, let me offer my warmest congratulations to you and to Mrs Hurley on your appointment as our nation’s 27th Governor-General.
This is a great honour which is being bestowed upon a great Australian.
And can I say, you have begun extremely well. A very brave decision to begin in the Ngunnawal language which Tina indicated was done extremely well.
So congratulations to you and your first speech as Governor-General in accepting this great honour.
You have of course served this nation with distinction for a long period of time in particular as head of the Defence Force and over four decades of service.
You have served the great state of New South Wales with distinction as its Governor.
And we have absolute confidence that you will serve this nation with distinction as our Governor-General.
And I congratulate the Government on the choice of Governor-General, one that was accepted very much across the political spectrum.
It must be said that you do have big shoes to fill.
Sir Peter Cosgrove is one of the most outstanding Australians of recent decades.
Time after time, when this nation called upon Sir Peter to serve, he responded.
On battlefields, when rebuilding after natural disasters or when exercising the important roles and responsibilities of the office that you now assume.
So we wish Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove well into the future and we thank him and Lady Cosgrove for their service.
The office of Governor General plays a critical role in our system of government.
It is not just about the formal constitutional role, important as that is. It is also about the role that the Governor-General plays in providing leadership, support and indeed inspiration to our community.
We have faith that you will occupy this office for all Australians and exercise its powers in a way that unites and strengthens our nation.
Sir Peter always delivered on these responsibilities with grace, good judgement and warmth.
And we know that you will be more than worthy of his example.
When you took the first RAR into Baidoa in 1993, the Defence Force hadn’t deployed a battalion overseas since the Vietnam War.
Operation Solace achieved its mission and you and the Australians under your command won international renown.
And as Chief of Army, and then Chief of Defence Force, your leadership was authentic and ethical, in a period with as complex a cultural challenge and as intense an operational environment as any since Vietnam.
And Mrs Hurley, your profession of education and passion for music is already legendary and it will grace the office with distinction too.
As a Sydneysider myself, I know what a wonderful impact you made in our city and state in your years in Government House.
On a personal note, can I say to your excellency that you have shown fine judgement of your passionate support of the South Sydney Rugby League Football Club.
As you know, I believe that support for the cardinal and myrtle should be a precondition for holding the highest offices in this land.
So welcome home to Canberra.
We are lucky to live in the best nation in the world – a place where people are free and we are united by a genuine sense of equality and mateship.
Your presence in Government House will reflect everything that is good about our nation.
So on behalf of my colleagues, please accept our very best wishes as you begin an experience that will continue your extraordinary partnership of service to our wonderful nation.