Official Opening of the Australian American Association Federal Conference
Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to join you tonight, to extend the warmest of welcomes to everyone attending the Australian-American Association’s 2017 Federal Conference.
I extend a particularly warm welcome to those of you who have travelled here from outside of Queensland – I trust you are enjoying our magnificent Spring weather!
It is highly appropriate that this Conference should return to Brisbane in twenty-seventeen.
It is a matter of some pride for our Queensland division, of which I am Patron, that it was here in Brisbane in 1941 that the first Australian-American Association was formed by grazier, Sir Richard Bower.
Twenty-seventeen also marks the 75th anniversary Battle of the Coral Sea, during which Australian and American naval forces halted Japanese advancement but a few hundred kilometres off the Queensland coast.
That was 1942, the same year that the Allied response to the Second World War in the Pacific shifted to Brisbane, with the arrival of none other than General Douglas Macarthur.
I thank the Australian-American Association in Queensland for their highly fitting and appropriate program of activities surrounding these important anniversaries, including the historical and memorable reception Kaye and I hosted in May at Government House in honour of survivors of the USS Lexington.
The facilitation of such commemorations forms just one aspect of this Association’s broad and beneficial mission.
Whether providing practical assistance and friendship to US citizens newly arrived in Australia, hosting one of the Association’s famed Thanksgiving Dinners, or a casual conversation among members at a barbeque explaining the ins-and-outs of gridiron – or cricket, as the confusion I am sure goes both ways!, the work of the Association across our nation gives great momentum to Australian-US relations.
Those relations span many aspects which underpin our contentment, stability and prosperity – in trade and commerce, innovation, the arts, tourism, sports, agriculture, and defence. I was very moved in relation to the latter to join Consul-General Valerie Fowler at the solemn Ramp Ceremony at RAAF Base Amberley last month for the US Marines who died off the Queensland Coast.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank and commend you all for your attendance here this evening, and throughout the week, as you go about giving further strength and substance to the long-standing beneficial friendship between our two nations.
It is now my great honour to declare officially open, the Australian-American Association Federal Conference.