His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson APM was sworn in as the 34th Governor of Western Australia on 15 July 2022.
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In addition to the constitutional, ceremonial and representational roles, the Governor and Mrs Dawson have identified five key priorities of focus during the Governor’s term in office.
Through a range of programs and actions, the Governor and Mrs Dawson are working to better support and advocate for greater respect, recognition, awareness and opportunities for Western Australia’s First Nations people.
This advocacy and support will be carried out in line with the Governor’s apolitical role and will be developed hand-in-hand with dialogue and guidance from key Aboriginal stakeholders.
Under this priority a range of external and internal initiatives will be developed by the Governor to help advance the understanding and connection between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures and people in Western Australia.
A key part of this priority will be a strengthening of awareness around the historical role of the Governor and Government House in relation to Aboriginal people since the colonisation of Western Australia; whilst also respectfully embracing the significance of the land on which Government House is located. The Governor will also work collaboratively with Aboriginal people to initiate projects and programs that will focus on working, healing and growing together.
The Governor in his former and current position embodies a strong professional and personal devotion towards reconciliation, and this will drive his continued dedication to helping support the betterment of Aboriginal people across all of Western Australia.
“It will take significant effort and time to address the complexities of the past, to heal in the present and to pave a future built on trust, recognition and reconciliation. As Governor I pledge to continue to listen to, and learn from this state’s First Nations people, to work together to forge meaningful partnerships, to advocate for greater connection and respect between cultures, and to ensure I do everything I can across my term to create better opportunities for Western Australia’s Aboriginal people.”
Institutional Trust is an integral foundation of civic society. When there is a lack of trust in core institutions, people will look for and act in other ways to feel secure and part of a common purpose and community.
The Governor’s career in public safety and law enforcement makes him keenly aware of the importance of community trust in our major institutions and government agencies, and the consequences of the erosion of trust. Trust in institutions and authorities, including government, judiciary, financial, faith, media, economic, science, education and health, has fallen in recent times.
Countries with high levels of community distrust experience socio-economic inequality and a growing divide.
People who do not trust each other are less likely to help others in need, build community ties or work collaboratively together.
While evidence shows that the Covid-19 pandemic increased trust in some institutions, it has also amplified and unified distrust amongst some members of the community.
Decades of Royal Commission findings, common sense and human decency tells us that institutions must be worthy of community trust.
The Governor wants to support institutions, community leaders and experts to rebuild and strengthen trust so that Western Australia can continue to be a prosperous and safe place to live.
Inspiring young people with the potential to lead positive change should be promoted and supported.
There are many young Western Australians between 10 and 17 years, who have ideas, energy and passion, yet due to circumstances beyond their control, are often untapped and unrecognised; the ‘spark’ is not able to be ignited.
Individual achievement across academia, the arts and sporting excellence is celebrated well here in WA, but there is also a significant ‘missing middle’ who are not sufficiently recognised. This priority aims to recognise quiet achievers and role models, including those from our rural and remote communities, and motivate others to ignite the ‘spark’ within, take the first steps towards making a difference and be well prepared to lead us successfully into the future.
Through this priority, the Governor and Mrs Dawson aim to influence and connect like-minded people and help organisations foster youth leadership in their culture.
All children, irrespective of their situation and social determinants, need access to support that assists in achieving their greatest potential for life.
The Governor and Mrs Dawson’s priority is focussed on supporting and advocating for early intervention strategies and research, leading to action and changes from pre-birth to 10 years of age. Research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to and assisted through supportive interventions, the better the outcome for the child, family, and therefore wider community.
Supporting and encouraging those who have the most impact during these critical early years is vital to making a difference to children and their families.
More than 27% of Western Australians over the age of 15 volunteer with an organisation in the State.
Volunteering can be defined as “time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.”
The common good associated with volunteering has untold value in terms of our community wellbeing, human services, and cultural identity. Put simply, unpaid volunteers often undertake vital work where there aren’t the resources available to employ people or provide services.
Volunteers, and the organisations who rely on them are very important to our society. Ranging from leisure activities to life-saving services, particularly in our regions – Western Australia is better off thanks to our volunteers.
“As Patron or co-patrons of 100 organisations, my wife and I are fortunate enough to engage and regularly support many amazing volunteer-led groups in WA. We want to celebrate the work of volunteers and to encourage more people to voluntarily get involved in community organisations.”
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