Speech to the Joint Sitting of Australian Parliament in Honour of President Obama, Canberra
THU 17 NOVEMBER 2011
Mr Harry Jenkins, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Senator the Honourable John Hogg, President of the Senate
The Honourable Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition
Honourable Members of the Australian Parliament
In March this year I was the fourth Australian Prime Minister to speak in your people’s representative house.
Like Prime Ministers Menzies, Hawke and Howard, each of us received as an ally and a friend.
Today, you are the fourth American President to speak here.
Like each of your predecessors, you come here as a friend and ally as well.
Mr President, welcome to our Parliament.
You meet us as your predecessors did.
A people enlivened by a spirit of confidence and resolve.
As friends, we recognise that same spirit in the nation you lead.
One you would no doubt express in those famous words-
Yes we can.
As allies, in this year of anniversaries, we recall that spirit in so much we have done together in the years we have shared.
A spirit we showed in 1941.
When a terrible Pacific war began which tested us both deeply and cost us both so much, but in which our will ultimately prevailed.
A spirit we shared in 1951.
When leaders from both our nations imagined and then brought about a new future for us in the world, as allies not just as friends.
And a spirit we felt deeply on September 11.
When we began our fight together to deny terrorism a safe haven, and to bring justice for terrorism’s victims.
Justice which was delayed but which, this year, could not be denied.
As allies, we look forward always and this is a year in which we have made plans for a future just as great.
A year in which we have drawn on the confidence and resolve we share knowing that together, we can prevail.
Confident we can secure our own nations – and co-operate for peace.
Where, together, we are seeing the mission through to transition.
In our region.
Where the expanded co-operation we have announced will see our alliance remain a stabilising influence in a new century of regional change.
A new step agreed on during your visit, but more than a new step for our two nations, it is a renewal of our alliance itself.
Confident we can create jobs and restore global growth.
At the G20 and APEC, in our decisions to forge an ambitious Trans Pacific Partnership, in our discussions here on the prospects for trade and at the East Asian Summit this weekend.
Where we will work together to keep the doors of trade open so the whole of the world’s economy grows, creating jobs for all the world’s people.
Confident we can secure clean energy and combat climate change too.
Working together, taking our part in global action.
Encouraging tariff cuts on environmental goods, promoting energy efficiency and sharing plans for low-emissions technologies.
And each of us driving change at home.
The resolve and confidence of our two nations has always served a high purpose.
Since its founding in 1951, ours has been an Alliance for a secure future.
But it has always been more.
Our alliance was anticipated a decade earlier – in the judgements of an Australian Prime Minister and the resolve of an American President.
And the partnership between us is still deeply imprinted with the personal character and public ideals of those two great men.
For it has never been simply a treaty to defend our interests or protect our territory.
It was then, and is now, a friendship dedicated to the values we share in the life of the world.
In Perth there is a Library dedicated to the memory of my great predecessor, John Curtin.
Our great wartime leader, the man who looked to America free of any pangs.
There you find a book given to him during his visit to the United States in 1944.
Prime Minister Curtin and President Roosevelt met as leaders of two great nations at war.
But as two great leaders, they looked ahead to the peace.
And Curtin returned to his country with much more than a plan for security.
He brought back – and kept as a treasure – an illustrated book edition dedicated to President Roosevelt’s “four essential human freedoms” as well.
Freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Freedoms for which so many diggers and GIs died.
Freedoms for which Curtin and Roosevelt were each still working on their own final day.
And in our work together in the world now – we are true to that great charter still.
To peace and security.
For jobs and growth.
With a clean environment and clean energy.
We welcome you here as you come as an ally, a partner and friend.
Mr President welcome to our Parliament.