(6pm 23 November 2011, Lord Mayor's Reception Room, Sydney Town Hall)
Good evening, everyone. Welcome to Town Hall. I would like firstly to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders, and also to acknowledge the 200 nationalities who live in our area.
And of course I would like to acknowledge this evening's honouree, Justice Michael Kirby and Councillor Shayne Mallard.
Since the Council for Civil Liberties was formed in 1963, lawyers have been very much at the heart of its activities.
Justice Kirby has continued that honourable tradition and has been an always-reasoned but insistent advocate for minorities and the underprivileged.
It is, I believe, one of the important tasks of government at all levels - to care for the most vulnerable in our society, and to ensure justice and equity for all.
But when governments fail to do that, it is vital that organisations like the Council for Civil Liberties be there to remind them of their obligations.
I'm therefore pleased to host this meeting here at Town Hall.
Once again, I would like to congratulate Justice Kirby on being awarded life membership of this organisation that he has done so much to serve.
And I would like to congratulate all members of the council for continuing to speak out for the best ideals of our society.