Dame Quentin Bryce
|25th Governor-General of Australia|
5 September 2008 â€“ 28 March 2014
|Prime Minister||Kevin Rudd
|Preceded by||Michael Jeffery|
|Succeeded by||Sir Peter Cosgrove|
|24th Governor of Queensland|
29 July 2003 â€“ 29 July 2008
|Preceded by||Peter Arnison|
|Succeeded by||Penelope Wensley|
|Born||Quentin Alice Louise Strachan
23 December 1942
|Alma mater||University of Queensland|
We all go back to our roots. My father went to the central west, went to Ilfracombe in 1919. He was the manager of the wool scour there. And, Ilfracombe was right at the heart of Australia's great wool industry, and my mother was a teacher at Winton.
It's a great privilege and an honour to have the experiences and opportunities that I do to meet extraordinary Australians right across our country who share a great generosity of spirit.
The Australian way of affirmative action is setting goals and recognising discrimination and lack of opportunity and deciding to take action and setting some goals and targets. I guess I prefer that language to talking about quotas.
My mother played the piano and my father the violin, I can remember my dad teaching me how to waltz; I had my feet on his, my mother playing the piano, and my husband will tell you the lessons weren't very successful.
I believe the old boys' network is a powerful one. No one gives up power and privilege willingly, do they?
I didn't have any Indigenous friends until I was in my 30s, and I'll always remember and be inspired by the remarkable friendship I had with Connie Bush, an outstanding Indigenous leader from Groot Eylandt on who was on the National Women's Advisory Council with me.
I think there's a very clear recognition and understanding that the progress of women in business at the very highest decision-making levels is too slow. This is a discussion that's going on in every country around the world, actually.
I think we have to keep working enormously hard to see that every single Indigenous child – every Australian child – has true equality of opportunity. We've got to work harder at it. I think, you know, the heartland issue for us is the gap; the gap in life expectancy in this country.
One of the most enjoyable things I do at Government House and when I travel around Australia is to talk with children. I tell them about our parliamentary democracy – and I often do that as I'm walking into an Executive Council meeting next door!
I think that young Australians ought to be taking language education much more seriously. I mean, you know, every day I'm meeting people with expertise, ability and talent in fields where I want to learn so much more; science, for example.
Livelihoods and whole communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin have been imperilled by the workings of drought, fire, flood, acid mud and human action over many decades. In the rescues and the cleanups and the long hauls, I see the same attitude over and again. People just rally and get on with it.
All women need support when they're having their babies and their little families are in formation. I have to say I have a lot of concern about the numbers of women – and men, now – who are not getting the support that they need. There are not the families and the communities around that there used to be.
For a very long time now I've been saying to young women, 'You can have it all, but not all at the same time.' How important it is to take very good care of yourself, of your mental and physical and spiritual wellbeing; it's hard to do. It's easier to be a workaholic than to have a truly balanced life.
The thing we often forget to talk about, or perhaps we take for granted, is our country's dazzling beauty. Our natural environment is so much a part of Australia's art, writing, music and culture, both indigenous and non indigenous.
The aboriginal women leaders of Papunya – the Papunya Artists – performed a dance for me: the Honey Ant dance. They'd never done it for anyone else. They honoured me with a ceremonial stick that signifies the story of the land.
Maternity leave and parental leave is absolutely vital for strengthening families. It's an issue for men and women.
I've never owned a pair of jeans, but I had a fantastic denim boiler-suit and it got a lot of wearing.
The bonds that women share around the world, wherever we come from, they're very powerful and they have an ease of communication because we share those very important things of our families, our mothering, of improving opportunities for the next generation.