As I just said to the President, thanks mate.
Mr President, Mrs Trump, honoured guests, distinguished guests,, friends one and all, here in this land of liberty. Thank you Mr President and Mrs Trump for the honour you have bestowed on my country here today with this extraordinary welcome.
Jenny and I bring with us, and our delegation, the amity, the thanks and respect of 25 million Australians – for this great country of these United States of America.
Fifty years ago another Australian Prime Minister visited the White House and he said, “there are too many bonds between our two countries for any Australian Prime Minister to feel that he is a stranger.”
So once again as another Prime Minister returns, as a friend, to celebrate with you Mr President one of our oldest and dearest friendships. It is wonderful to be here.
Australians and Americans understand each other like few other peoples, and it is true that you and I have established a very early understanding for which I’m grateful.
No two peoples in the world make better friends easier than ours.
Your respect for Australia, Mr President, your personal encouragement and the example afforded by your passion for what makes America great, makes ours a very easy connection. For a century, as you have recounted, we have done what true friends do - stick by each other.
Ronald Reagan spoke of the “truths and traditions” that define the United States. Australians share these truths and traditions. We see the world through the same lens, from the cornfields of Le Hamel to the jungles of South East Asia and the Pacific to the dust of Tarin Kot and now even, the waters of the Strait of Hormuz, Australians and Americans continue to stand together.
I am reminded of the story of a young American soldier in the First World War calling out to Australian soldiers for help to attend to the wounded and an Australian soldier replied in the notorious blunt language of soldiers which I will censor here. He said, “Sure, Yank, I’ll go. We’re in this…thing together!”
Mr President, Australia may often look – he’s a New Yorker!
Mr President, Australia may often look to the United States but we have never been a country that has been prepared to leave it to the United States. We don’t, that’s not our way. We pull our weight. Like you, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour our found in our willingness to stand for what we believe.
We believe, as Teddy Roosevelt declared, that national strength is found in the ability of citizens to live out their lives with “self restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility” and the ability to act “in conjunction with others” and with “courage and resolution”.
We believe in the capacity of enterprise and free markets to create wealth and lift all – and for free and fair trade to bring nations closer together.
We believe “that governments derive their power from the consent of the governed” and that the ballot box and democracy is the surest foundation for peace and security.
And we believe in the rule of law and freedom of association.
These beliefs spurred this country to build a mighty canal; stood up to fascism and militarism; rebuild the modern world after winning a great peace; inspired the fascination, wonder and joy of the world’s children through a little mouse who could whistle a tune; who took humanity to the moon and indeed we’re going back again; tore down a wall that separated liberty from oppression and imagined, engineered and built a world that has connected humanity in a way that we now can’t imagine living without.
America reminds the world that it can be done. How great is America?
The world is a better place because of this country living out its moral purpose.
A world not just more secure, but more prosperous as well.
The new economies of the world, lifting hundreds of millions from poverty, do so because they first saw the United States define a century and do that first and then invited and supported them to follow.
Mr President, I know that the leaders of more powerful nations will indeed visit this home known throughout the world and will be welcomed as friends. But you won’t find a more sure and steadfast friend, a better mate, than Australia.
It is a coincidence of history that on the very day Pearl Harbour was attacked, Australia gifted a 99 year lease to the United States to build its embassy on our capital.
And 60 years later, as the President has remarked, on September 11, another Australian Prime Minister John Howard was here in Washington at our embassy – and he invoked our treaty with you – and pledged our country to stand with you against the architects of terror as we do to this day.
When President Reagan welcomed another Australian Prime Minister on this lawn he reminded us “liberty is not an inevitable state and there is no law which guarantees that once achieved it will survive”.
So we pledge ourselves here at this dawn of a second century of mateship, between our nations, to renew and modernise our Alliance for a new century; to continue to be vigilant and strong – and to build the economic strength that our world needs that contributes to the peace and prosperity of all.
Whatever lies ahead in this century, I know that Australia and the United States will go on to meet it with the same courage, the same daring, the same unbreakable bond that has defined the first century of mateship.
Mr President and Mrs Trump, thank you again for welcoming Jen and me here, and here as true friends.
May God bless you, may God bless the good peoples of the Commonwealth of Australia and these United States of America.