Opening remarks - Bilateral meeting with President Biden

Transcript
24 May 2022
Tokyo, Japan
E&OE

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much Mr President. It's been an honour to start my Prime Ministership, and this new Government, by meeting with yourself and, obviously, with Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Modi.

Australia and the United States are great friends. Many years ago, a young fellow, myself, in my twenties, I was a guest of your State Department, with the State Department program, and had five weeks in the US. Diverse. They had a program where you could design a theme. And mine was to see the interaction of groups with the US Government. So I did everything from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood to the full kit and caboodle—across the spectrum.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: You’re a brave man.

PRIME MINISTER: But it was an opportunity to see the full diversity of the way that the country operates. And as well, of course, you do dinners in people's homes, as well, who host you. And it was a chance to really immerse myself there. And I had security briefings in Hawaii on the way back. And the US State Department was good enough, as well, to manage to justify a trip to Vegas as well. I'm not quite sure where that fitted in. But it was a good trip indeed. And of course, my Government is very committed to the alliance.

We're very proud of the fact that the alliance was forged by John Curtin during World War Two, that we turned to America. And that led in the post-war to what we've just celebrated as the 70th anniversary of the formal alliance. But it really began when our country was under threat. And we commemorated as well recently the 80th anniversary of USS Peary in Darwin, the American loss of life. And we've been friends ever since. And we play a very important role, in terms of national security for us, but for our region as well.

I was a part of a Government that brought the US Marines to Darwin under Julia Gillard, which was a very important move. And I look forward to really strengthening our relationship. I've been a participant. We last met when you were Vice President under my participation in the Australian American Leadership Dialogue that I've done for many, many years. That's an important body. And I've known some of your colleagues, Kurt in particular, for some time through that process as well. He's a good guy. I quote him regularly.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: So do I.

PRIME MINISTER: So, thank you Mr President, for your congratulations and your warm welcome. And I look forward to welcoming you down to the Quad leaders’ meeting next year. But also, my intention is, I will be visiting the US before then. And I look forward to that.