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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22171

Address to the Luncheon held for Her Majesty the Queen Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/03/2006

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22171

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, the Premier of Victoria, the Chief Justice of Australia, the Chief Justice of Victoria, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, visiting Heads of Government, ladies and gentlemen. This Royal Exhibition building has a special place, both as an iconic establishment and also in the history of our nation. It was here Ma'am that your grandfather presided over the launching of what has become one of the great success stories of the last 100 years around the world-namely the Commonwealth of Australia.

And we as Australians celebrate with pride the astonishing achievement of our nation in so many areas of activity, over the more than 100 years that have passed since that great day back in 1901. It was also in a more local way a wonderful reflection of the energy, the enthusiasm and the sense of hope that gripped late 19 Century Victoria and Melbourne. Marvellous Melbourne was the apt description that was given to that spirit of enthusiasm and hope in the late Victorian period.

And I am confident that over the next two or three weeks, the world and Australia will be reminded that the passage of more than a hundred years has not dimmed the spirit of Melbournians, back in those days. That they will display that same sense of warmth and hope and energy and enthusiasm as they embrace and support this wonderful Commonwealth sporting festival.

There are of course very special links between Melbourne and sport in this country. Many claim it to be the sporting capital of Australia, and that is not surprising, not surprising indeed Ma'am. It does of course boast the most famous sporting venue in our country, the MCG or the 'G', which will be the home for the Commonwealth Games. And Ma'am you would be aware of course of the special significance that Flemington Race Course, the holding of the greatest horse race and many argue the great sporting event of the Australian calendar. And then last, but by no means least let me say, Melbourne is the birth place and the continuing spiritual home of Australian Football; the only indigenous football code played in this country.

Ma'am it is in that spirit and against that background that on behalf of everybody here, I welcome you to this great Exhibition Building. I welcome you to Melbourne. I welcome you as a guest of Australia to launch the Melbourne Commonwealth Games of 2006. Your presence as always gives a special lustre to a gathering and that is certainly no exception with the Commonwealth Games. And can I also welcome the Duke of Edinburgh and your son The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward the Patron of the Commonwealth Games.

And may I extend that welcome to the many thousands of people who've come to Australia as guests of our country, to participate and to follow their teams. And the many Heads of Government, and Minister's in Government's of the Commonwealth that are also here. And as Australia's Prime Minister I especially welcome the presence of so many illustrious sporting champions of Australia from past Olympic and Commonwealth Games. They have a special place in our memory and they have a special place here today.

Sport as we all know is a great bond, not only that unites Australians, it's also a bond between the nations of the Commonwealth. And it's not only the sports that are being played at these Games that excite the interest of members of the Commonwealth, there's one sport in particular that has the affections of more than a few of us here today, and over the last week we've seen in a contest between England and India, and also in a very hard fought and exciting contest between Australia and South Africa, we've seen the wonderful contests in that particular sport.

And finally ladies and gentlemen, I do want to take this opportunity to both thank and congratulate, firstly the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games under the Chairmanship of the indefatigable Mr Ron Walker for an absolutely marvellous job that that committee has done in organising these Games. And can I also pay tribute to the work and the support, the investment and the commitment of the Government of Victoria led by the Premier Mr Steve Bracks. The cooperation between the Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government has been exemplarily in the lead up to these Games. And we have known and we have recognised that this is an occasion where we are all Australians together, working to make these Games a success, knowing that the true measurement of the success of these Games will be when all of our visitors depart and they go away, not so much counting their medal tallies but rather reflecting on the warmth of the reception that they have received from their Australian hosts and taking away in their hearts very fond recollections-not only of the city of Melbourne, but of all of the Australian people.

I now invite the Premier of Victoria to support my remarks.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22171