On behalf of the Government and the Liberal Party I thank Tony Nutt for his extraordinary service to the Party and to the nation in more than 35 years of public service.

As principal private secretary and then as chief of staff Tony was at the centre of the Howard Government, the most successful of our generation.
He is the consummate political professional and the Liberal Party has no more loyal or dedicated servant.

My first official visits to Papua New Guinea and India will focus on trade, security, economic growth and education.

I will spend 7-9 April in Papua New Guinea and 9-12 April in New Delhi and Mumbai.

During my time in PNG, I will meet with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and visit the Kokoda Track to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the New Guinea Campaign in World War Two.

PRIME MINISTER:

Mr President welcome, it’s great to see you again.

We had a great discussion at the Pacific Islands forum and congratulations on being the chair for the next Pacific Islands forum. We look forward to meeting with all of our neighbours in the Pacific in Nauru.

I hope you are having a good visit, I know Australia for you and your team is familiar territory but we really welcome you here.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you very much Gladys. Aren’t we so lucky to have Gladys as our Premier here in New South Wales?

(Applause)

We are indeed.

It is a great honour to be here tonight. Gerard and Anne, thank you very much for inviting me. We are with Her Excellency Menna Rawlings, the British High Commissioner. And of course so many State and Federal parliamentary colleagues.

We look forward to welcoming the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, to Australia on April 22.

The Vice President’s visit, so early in the term of the new Administration, underlines the strength of our alliance.

Vice President Pence will also visit the Republic of Korea, Japan and Indonesia. The Australian Government believes that United States engagement in the Asia Pacific remains absolutely crucial to the region’s stability and prosperity.

NEIL MITCHELL:

The Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning.

NEIL MITCHELL:

If we go to Syria in a moment, which is clearly a massive international significant event - couple of domestic issues first – is the Federal Government looking at helping finance an airport rail link for Melbourne?

PRIME MINISTER:

PRIME MINISTER OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA:

Thank you very much for joining us here this afternoon.  And firstly let me extend our appreciation to the Prime of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, for his first official visit in his capacity as Prime Minister to Papua New Guinea on this occasion.  I hope you have a pleasant stay here and of course we look forward to many more discussions over the course of today and tomorrow.

PRIME MINISTER:

We're coming to the end of our visit here in Papua New Guinea.  It’s been a very successful one.  We’ve reflected on the extraordinary sacrifice of Australians and Papua New Guineans 75 years ago, a sacrifice that secured for us freedoms that we enjoy today.  We honour that and thank those men and women for the work they did and the sacrifices they made, of the mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice that they showed in those dark years. 

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