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The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust 2022 ACT Awards Presentation Ceremony, Government House


This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

Good afternoon, all. Welcome to Government House.

Linda and I are delighted to have you here on what is a special day in the life of seven young Australians and The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

We get to acknowledge, recognise and interact with people who want to make the world a better place.
There is an energy in the room — there’s no doubt about that! It is great to see.

Linda and I have today returned from a three-day visit to East Arnhem in the Northern Territory, where we attended a series of cultural and community engagements and an investiture ceremony.

Last week we were in Sydney for engagements with a number of the organisations we support as patrons.

We have also recently been on the ground in flood-affected communities in northern New South Wales, regional Victoria and northern Tasmania.

I mention those visits to highlight that no matter the time nor place in communities, towns and cities across our country, there are people and organisations doing outstanding work.

I’m not blind to the challenges that we and our nation are facing at the present time. But I am buoyed, indeed uplifted, by the grit, determination and strength of people and organisations that make a positive difference to the community.

The Trust supports a special group within the broader community — emerging leaders who have demonstrated the potential and substance to have a profound impact.

There are no prescribed qualifications or free rides.

As Sir Winston himself said, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’

With an understanding of the importance of that statement, that is why you are here.

You are being recognised today because your ideas and your commitment to implementing them and affecting positive change will benefit Australia. 

Five of you [Hannah Cox, Belinda O’Connor, Karen Schlage, Alison Trewhella, Mr Wee-Sian Woon] are about to head off overseas to research your project further, and then return to Australia reinvigorated and in a position to apply your findings to a local context.

I’m an optimist by nature so, assuming all goes well, here are the end results of your studies:

  • sustainable and long-lasting planted areas for the public to enjoy
  • identification of success factors and barriers for low vision and telescopic glasses driving
  • in-hospital volunteer programs that help support families experiencing pregnancy loss
  • recruitment strategies that increase workforce stability in child protection
  • models of care that increase accessibility for diagnosis and management of ADHD in adults.

Collectively, what a contribution that would be to life in the ACT and our nation.

The challenge for you now is to maintain that momentum.

I encourage you to use the opportunity you now have through The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to progress your respective initiatives and to affect that meaningful change that will benefit our nation.

To the two Churchill Fellows [Farzana Chowdhury and Robyn Lewis] who have completed their fellowship and submitted their report — congratulations.

Linda and I look forward to hearing of the positive outcomes.

These awards, of course, don’t just happen. There is a dedicated team of people working behind the scenes to ensure the important work of the Trust continues.

Since its inception in 1965, more than 4,600 Churchill Fellowships have been awarded in Australia and 258 in the ACT.

All involved in the Trust, past and present, share in this success.

I want to thank:

  • The Board and staff of the Trust
  • ACT Selection Committee and the selection committees in the other States and Territory
  • Churchill Fellows Association
  • Sponsors and supporters.

Australia is finely served by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

We will equally be well served by today’s recipients.