Investiture of Ms Ruth Dhurrkay SC, community of Galiwinku on Elcho Island, East Arnhem Land
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Yolngu People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
My wife, Linda, and I are very pleased to be in Galiwinku today for this special occasion.
Feeling and being safe in our towns and cities is important to all Australians. This is particularly so for our children. While our police have an important role to play, we all have a responsibility. We are recognising such a response today.
Ruth has been very brave. When I speak to recipients of bravery awards my message is a simple one — thank you for putting the safety of other people above your own. Such a decision, even if made almost without thinking, deserves our recognition and, in this case, the award of our nation’s second highest award for bravery [The Star of Courage].
Ruth, we thank you on behalf of your fellow Australians and particularly on behalf of your community. You are rightly a hero in our eyes.
We are also delighted to return to Yolngu country after our visit to the Garma festival last year. You live in some of the most remote and beautiful parts of our country and I thank you for your care of this land for so many generations.
Caring for country land and being safe on country land are important to us all.