January 26 is a time to celebrate and reflect on our national spirit, and the Australia Day Address serves to focus our attention on what that means to all of us.
Since 1997 the Address has drawn on distinguished members from within the community to express their unique perspective on our nation’s identity and the diversity of our society.
Each year the speaker is encouraged to share their experiences and reflect upon our history and our future, securing the Address as one of the most important Australia Day initiatives.
Eminent speakers from past years include Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Sir Michael Parkinson CBE, Ita Buttrose AO OBE, Associate Professor Charlie Teo AM and Kurt Fearnely OAM.
Professor Michelle Simmons - 2017 Speaker
One of Australia’s leading scientists, Professor Michelle Simmons, delivered the 2017 Australia Day Address. Professor Simmons is an esteemed physicist specialising in quantum physics. She is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW.
The event was attended by His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Hurley – the Honourable Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales, Angelos Frangopoulos, Chairman of the Australia Day Council of NSW and fellow members plus members of Corporate Club Australia.
Professor Simmons is the first female scientist to deliver the Australia Day Address in its 20 year history. She emphasised the need for young people to tackle life's hardest tasks and to strive to be the best they can be.
The UK-born scientist, who is leading the world in the race to build a prototype quantum computer, warned that Australia’s educators were jeopardising the future by lowering the expectations they set for students.
Those who attended and had the opportunity to hear Professor Simmons' Address came away with a renewed and unique perspective of Australia's standing as international leader in scientific research and what we must do to continue this status for the future.