Address to State Dinner - National Parliament of Papua New Guinea

Speech
12 Jan 2023
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Prime Minister
Check against delivery

I would like to acknowledge the Indigenous landowners of the land on which we gather tonight. I pay my respects to the Motu Koitabu people.

Prime Minister Marape, distinguished guests.

Gutpela nait yupela olgeta
[Good evening to you all]

Thank you very much for those kind words of welcome at the end of what has been a moving and memorable day.

To be the first foreign Head of Government invited to address your Parliament was a great honour.

And not just for me personally – but for the country I lead and the people I serve.

Australia and Papua New Guinea are more than near neighbours, we are the greatest of friends.

We can trace our friendship back through thousands of years of connection and culture between our peoples.

We remember and honour the shared service and sacrifice of wartime, the heroism and humanity of the members of that great generation.

We recall the joy and pride of independence, nearly half a century ago.

When the Australian flag was not torn down, but respectfully lowered - and the vibrant colours of your proud and independent nation rose to fly in its place.

But our partnership is about more than history or proximity.

It is a bond between equals.

It is a relationship of common values – and also shared interests.

Two Pacific Ocean states determined to preserve peace and security in our region, recognising the value and the importance of a family-first approach.

And writing that principle of regionalism and that sense of deep trust into our new Bilateral Security Treaty.

Our partnership is vital to regional security – and it also offers us tremendous opportunity for greater prosperity.

I look around the room tonight and see reminders everywhere of our strong and growing business and investment ties.

Businesses that enrich the PNG economy, employ thousands of local workers, and make the products the world wants and needs.

If we work together, we can do even more.

We can work together on your priorities for education: boosting skills and training to help more people find good jobs that lift their living standards.

Investing in hospitals and health services across the board, because we know a healthy economy depends on healthy people.

On the Renewable Energy Economy, there is a transformative opportunity to see your nation's rich natural resources help drive the world's transition to a low-carbon economy, while at the same time creating good, secure jobs and greater wealth, here in PNG.

And together, we can unlock new areas of investment in these resources as well as agriculture and infrastructure.

Building the roads that help farmers and producers get their goods to market, upgrading the ports that make trade faster and more reliable and building the digital connectivity that will allow PNG to commercialise and export ideas, as well as products and resources.

And – I can't make a speech in the company of Prime Minister Marape, without mentioning that other great PNG export: brilliant rugby league players.

And, Prime Minister, like you, I want to see a PNG team in the NRL.

Friends

I finished my remarks earlier today talking about my trip to Wewak tomorrow.

That visit is about paying respect to the life and leadership of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare.

It's also about honouring his dream for this land – a dream that did not begin and end with independence.

His vision was for a united PNG and a prosperous one.

A Papua New Guinea respected and recognised as a leader in the Indo-Pacific.

And a PNG working together with Australia, for the good of our two nations and the success and strength of our region.

Two nations bound together, building together.

That ambition endures.

It is up to us to carry it forward.

And the Prime Minister and I are united on that.

Thank you all for your warm hospitality tonight.

Tenk yu tru olgeta, lukim yu bihain.
[Thank you very much, everyone, see you again]