PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22288

Address at the Official Arrival Ceremony The White House, Washington

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: 16/05/2006

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22288

Mr. President and Mrs. Bush, Mr. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, ladies and gentlemen. Can I say to you, Mr. President, for myself and my wife, and I know all of the Australians present here today, how much we welcome and appreciate the warmth and generosity of the hospitality and welcome that you have extended to us.

It is possible, Mr. President, to count on the fingers of our two hands the number of nations that have remained continuously democratic over the last 100 years. And two of those nations are of course the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Australia. Our common history, our common commitment to liberty, and to democracy, has been an important bond that has united the people of America and the people of Australia.

But it's also been our shared values that have been an important constant in that relationship. A belief that the worth of a person is defined not by his or her race, or religion, or nationality, but rather the worth of that person's character, and his or her commitment to the common future of the nation of which he is a part; a belief that the greatest force for good within any society is stable families, because it's families that bring out the best in people and provide them with the greatest source of emotional support and sustenance; and also, a belief that economic future and economic liberty is best defined by competitive capitalism and the working out of market forces, provided our societies provide an understanding of the need to protect those who, through no fault of their own, may need assistance.

And they are many of the values that have defined both of our societies, and they are some of the values that have brought our two societies together.

You rightly recall Mr. President that the fighting men of our two countries first joined together on the 4th of July, 1918, at the Battle of Hamel, in World War I. And in every significant conflict since, Americans and Australians have fought together in pursuit of our common goals and our common objectives. And I pay tribute, in particular, to the way in which the United States of America came to the assistance of Australia in the dark days of the Pacific War in World War II. And successive generations of Australians will never forget the vital assistance that the United States extended to our country in our hour of need, in the darkest days of World War II.

And it is important on an occasion like this to recall not only our history, but also to repeat our common resolve about the future. I will recall our meeting here at the White House on the 10th of September, 2001. It was the first time that we had met as President of the United States and Prime Minister of Australia. And in our discussions, contrary to what the critics of our two societies say, we were not speaking evil of other people in the world, we were not condemning other religions, we were not condemning other countries. We were expressing hope about a more peaceful world, a world in which Christian and Muslim would work together, a world in which the nations as a world would unite in harmony and peace.

And the following day, of course, the world changed forever. And so much of the common effort of our two societies since has been directed to the fight on terrorism. It will be, as you've said, Mr. President, a long and difficult fight. Progress is being made, but much lies ahead. And Janette and I are very conscious of the great sacrifice in lives of the men and women of your country. And we pay tribute to them, and we share the mourning and the grief of their loved ones here in the United States.

But our cause is a just cause. Terrorism respects no value system; terrorism does not respect the tenets of the great religions of the world; terrorism is based on evil, intolerance and bigotry. And no free societies, such as Australia and the United States, can ever buckle under to bigotry and intolerance.

Mr. President, I come here as the elected leader of a nation of 20 million people; a nation that shares so much in common with your country; a nation that will shoulder her responsibilities in the Pacific region; a nation which historically has interacted not only with the people of our own region, but the people of your country and the people of Europe.

I thank you again Mr. President for your personal friendship. I admire the leadership and the courage and the commitment that you have brought to your responsibilities and to your office. You have reasserted with strength and clarity the great values of the United States. You have presented a firm leadership to the free world against terrorism. The world needs an involved, committed, concerned United States years into the future. The world needs a President of the United States who has a clear-eyed view of the dangers of terrorism, and the courage and the determination, however difficult the path may be, to see the task through to its conclusion. And in you, sir, the American people and the world have found such a leader and such an individual.

I salute your courage and your commitment, your personal decency and your personal leadership of this great democracy, of this great country. And I thank you very warmly for all the Australians present for the grace and dignity and genuineness of your welcome.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22288