Remarks at launch of the Mid Winter Ball

Thanks David. Well you've invited me along in my capacity as Foreign Minister and I really appreciate that but I should say from the outset – no, I'm not keeping a diary.

That is a disclaimer that I have to make every time I'm about to speak; particularly when I'm going into meetings with other Foreign Ministers. I say 'I haven't got any notebooks, its ok'. Although, I have to say, it has been tempting – given that I am Australia's first female Foreign Minister. But as you know, I'm not the first to wear stockings… and possibly not the second.

But I am pleased to actually get here today because I have also been a victim of the international slave trade, aka Qantas Business Class. I don't know how bad it has to get – do you know that they have now banned pilates classes in the aisle, and they are not providing yoga mats, and not one activated almond was on my last flight, and, you would not believe this, but the sparkling water was not Perrier!

So I'm really pleased to be here, and there was something else going on a few moments ago, but none of you will be interested in that at all because you're all here for the Ball. I must say how delighted I am to be involved again because I think I've been to everyone one of the Mid-Winter balls since inception and I have to say I'm very enthused by this year's Baz Luhrmann-inspired Gatsby theme.

I was trying to come up with a three word slogan while I was listening to you David and I thought 'Gangsters, Guns and Glamour' really sums up the Gallery and the Mid-Winter Ball so, David 'Jay Gatsby' Speers, old sport, I think that's going to be a terrific drawcard.

Not only do we have great fun on this evening where journalists and politicians rub shoulder to shoulder but it is for a really worthy cause and as David has indicated, some fantastic charities will be the beneficiaries of the fund raising effort.

Year after year, the Press Gallery and the Canberra community; the politicians and the wider business community, as well as the media, have really supported this Mid-Winter Ball that's raised so much money – so congratulations again. I'm really looking forward to the night and on that note I declare open the ticket sales today for the Mid-Winter Ball on the 18th June.

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