PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 18183

Remarks to welcome the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/10/2011

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 18183

Prime Minister O'Neill.

High Commissioner Lapani and other members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Your ministerial colleagues and their Australian counterparts who have been meeting in the Ministerial Forum.

Departmental secretaries from PNG and Australia who've been similarly co-operatively engaged this week .

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen - welcome all.

Prime Minister, it is my particular pleasure to welcome you to Australia on your first official visit here as Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. I sincerely appreciate the significance of your visiting Australia so early in your term of office.

We also met at the Pacific Islands Forum last month.I was struck by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remark pointing out that of the ten Parliaments in the world which have no female representation, half of them, that is five, are in our Pacific region.

So I particularly appreciated your leadership in the discussions at the Forum about the need to increase the number of women in regional parliaments. And I want to congratulate you on the leadership you are showing through your Equality and Participation Bill designed to reserve 22 seats in your Parliament for women, and warmly wish you and your Government every success in that endeavour. For our part, Australia will support your efforts through a new one million dollar program to help women political leaders in PNG gain skills in democratic politics.

Prime Minister, PNG stands at a threshold of historic change and opportunity.

And you stand at that threshold with a partner in Australia. A new chapter in the story of our bilateral relations is beginning.

Our nations are each rich in natural resources, our governments each seek to ensure investment in mining and energy resources delivers opportunity for all. With that in mind I am pleased PNG officials working on the development of Papua New Guinea's Sovereign Wealth Fund will soon be able to undertake short-term secondments with a number of Australian institutions. A most valuable and practical form of partnership, and one designed to reinforce your work to strengthen governance and transparency in all your nation's institutions.

We work together for the continued development of Papua New Guinea through our aid program.

I am passionate about education and its capacity to transform the lives of individuals and of nations. So I am very pleased to be able to announce today an additional 20 places for students from rural areas of PNG to obtain teaching qualifications. Another area where partnership is vital.

We are also partners in pursuit of peace and regional stability. Papua New Guinea is an important leader in our region, so I want particularly to acknowledge your encouragement of Fiji to return to democratic government and your significant contribution to the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

We respect your historic - and continuing - preparedness to work with us and in the region to deal with irregular people movement.

We also work together in the wider world. So I am pleased Australia has been able to assist Papua New Guinea Defence Force personnel to prepare for peacekeeping missions in Darfur and South Sudan historic deployments, as the PNGDF prepares to make its first ever contributions to a UN peacekeeping force.

Prime Minister, I spoke recently about Australia's future in the Asian Century.

In the Asian Century, my nation looks north, and when we look north, we see a friend in PNG; we always have. Next year, we will particularly reflect on our history as friends.

I do want to acknowledge, Prime Minister, your announcement yesterday of a generous contribution towards the memorial to mark the sinking of the Japanese transport Montevideo Maru] in 1942. That awful tragedy saw the loss of more than a thousand prisoners of war, mostly Australians captured at the fall of Rabaul, when a US submarine torpedoed the Japanese ship unaware of her human cargo. Thank you for your generous support as we remember one of the saddest moments of the war.

2012 will be a time when both our nations commemorate the seventieth anniversary of many other sad and proud moments of 1942.Those hours when the best among both our peoples were quite literally arm in arm, those days when our freedoms were ours alone to save, that year when we set the course by which we prevailed.

Our two nations were neighbours and friends then and we were partners as well. And we remain partners now as we look to the future together.

Prime Minister, it was good to meet you in Auckland, it is great to have you here in Canberra, and it will be wonderful to welcome you to Perth soon.

Welcome to Australia.

Transcript 18183