Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese Thursday extended a warm welcome to Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape at the Australian Parliament in Canberra – the first leader of another nation to address Parliament since 2020.
“And the first leader of a Pacific island nation to address the Australian Parliament, ever.”
“It is fitting that such an honour belongs to Papua New Guinea,” Albanese said in a statement in Parliament.
“Australia and Papua New Guinea are close in every sense of the word,” Albanese said. “We are the nearest of neighbours.
“The most steadfast and trusted of partners. And the very oldest of friends.
“Our connection stretches back thousands of years,” he stated referencing the historical ties between the two nations.
“And while the modern relationship that we celebrate with your visit today has evolved and expanded to include every field of human endeavour,” Albanese highlighted the diverse areas of collaboration between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
“Our bond still holds true to the spirit of those very first exchanges,” he emphasised.
“Sport brings our people together,” Albanese said, acknowledging the shared passion for rugby league between the two nations.
“Next year, we will commemorate, and celebrate, the 50th anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s independence,
“A momentous day in the life of both our nations.
“Australia will always be proud of the part we played in that time of historic change,” Albanese said.
“Today, our Government is partnering with yours, to build the architecture of peace and opportunity,” he stated, outlining the ongoing collaboration between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
“Prime Minister, Australia wants to build this future with you and secure it with you, as your primary partner,” Albanese declared.
“An agreement for the future, anchored in our shared history,” he said regarding the Bilateral Security Agreement between the two nations.
“Villers-Bretonneux is a name that lives in Anzac legend, so is Kokoda,” Albanese said recalling the shared history of sacrifice and heroism between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
“Australia will never forget Papua New Guinea,” he assured.
“The co-operation and stability we can build together. The peace and security we can uphold together. The growth and prosperity we can achieve together,” Albanese outlined the shared aspirations for the future. “Neighbours and mates. Partners and equals,” he concluded, extending a heartfelt welcome to Prime Minister Marape. “You are most welcome in our Parliament today, you are welcome in Australia, always,” said PM Albanese.
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