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Monday, 20 June 2011
Page: 3260


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:40): To the Rt Hon. John Key: you are very welcome here. It was in February this year that I became the first Australian Prime Minister to address the members of the New Zealand parliament, a profound and moving honour for me and for this nation. In turn, today John Key stands among us as the first New Zealand Prime Minister to address the Australian parliament—testament to the profound, unique and enduring friendship between our two countries. We share a common history, a common outlook and a common set of values. Our people love peace and love freedom, and they freely paid a dreadful price for both. It is the story, of course, we call Anzac—and I am always conscious of the 'NZ' in that word.

So today I pledge the friendly cooperation of our two nations as we prepare for the centenary of Gallipoli and those other epic anniversaries of 1914 to 1918—great moments in our national history, great moments in our shared history. Of course, as I said in the parliament in New Zealand in February, the Anzac story is a living story. It lives on today in Afghanistan, where Australian and New Zealand forces are making a vital contribution to security. It was poignantly illustrated when Australian rescue workers forged a cross of timber, salvaged from the ruins of Christchurch Cathedral, a cross that became the centreĀ­piece for this year's Anzac Day service in that quake shattered city. And it was evident when Australians and New Zealanders were among the first teams on the ground after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Prime Minister, we would have always felt deeply for the people of Christchurch when that dreadful earthquake struck, but our empathy was only heightened by the rawness of our own wounds from the summer of disaster here. As New Zealand mourned, we mourned with you. As New Zealand held out hope for a miraculous rescue, we kept vigil with you. And as New Zealand recovers, we will stand by you. If I may borrow a saying from your country's rich Maori culture: turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. Prime Minister, we will be turning our face with you to the sun, and for you we certainly hope that the shadows of recent days now fall behind you, fall behind our New Zealand friends, our New Zealand family. We know that you will recover. We know that you will rebuild. We know this not only because of our shared past but also because of our shared sense of anticipation about the future, a future in which our interests will only become more closely linked.

But, Prime Minister, this is about more than our two nations, though it is so much about our two nations. We cannot just look to ourselves. As vibrant and longstanding democracies, it is our responsibility to nurture younger democracies throughout the Asia-Pacific, to help strengthen their institutions and to promote fairness and opportunity. Above all we must pool our strengths to meet the challenges facing our region at this time, a time of enormous global change as we face the impact of China's rise, climate change, resource security, natural disaster management, people-smuggling—challenges that require innovative and collective responses, challenges that demand the courage to govern for tomorrow as well as for today.

Prime Minister, underlying all of the strands of our relationship is one simple truth. What geography began, history has confirmed: our two nations are family, so here in this chamber and in this country you can never be a stranger. By honouring you in this gathering place of deliberation, we honour the nation you represent and we honour the people you serve. And so I say from my heart: kia ora, welcome; the House is yours today.

Honourable members: Hear, hear!