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'Bomber' grounded by black ice -

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'Bomber' grounded by black ice

Lisa Millar reported this story on Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:34:00

ELEANOR HALL: Well it's certainly been quite an entrance for Australia's new ambassador to the
United States Kim Beazley.

He'd barely arrived in Washington earlier this month when he slipped on ice in his driveway and
tore tendons in both his knees.

But that's not stopping him getting down to business, albeit in a wheelchair.

He was at the White House today for a brief meeting with the President as North America
correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR: He's not setting any speed records but Kim Beazley is manoeuvring his wheelchair
around his new home in Washington DC with a certain degree of agility.

KIM BEAZLEY: No worries. I'm going to have to plough through you guys because...

LISA MILLAR: Despite being wheelchair bound for possibly two months Kim Beazley knows it could have
been a lot worse.

He fell hard on the ice at the bottom of the driveway to the Ambassador's residence in DC and still
can't believe he didn't slam his head into the pavers.

KIM BEAZLEY: It's what's called black ice which is invisible to the Australian eye, certainly the
Australian eye not brought up in snow country. And I didn't spot it on the pavement.

I'd been retrieving a document. I went down once, got up and went down a second time and took out
both my knees. And this is the result.

LISA MILLAR: With his wife Susie Annus and daughter Rachel, the former federal Labor leader headed
off to the White House today. In what was expected to be a brief exchange he was going to present
his diplomatic credentials to the President, confirming formally his new position.

KIM BEAZLEY: (Laughs) My message to him is how much we're looking forward to his visit.

LISA MILLAR: Barack Obama is due to arrive in Australia towards the end of March and will spend
just a couple of days in the country after visiting Guam and Indonesia.

If Mr Beazley is fit enough he'll travel as well to coincide with the trip.

KIM BEAZLEY: I hope he has a really good time. I think it's very important that he has a very good
time in Australia.

Australia is a good news story for America; particularly a good news story for Americans who
believe that exports generate jobs and income and global trade is critical for American prosperity.

If you want to demonstrate that point, which is always difficult to do in a recession, the very
best place to demonstrate it is Australia if you happen to be an American.

So I hope that what the President gets out of the visit is a) a good time for himself and his
family; b) an understanding of how deeply affectionate the Australian people are for the American
people; and c) what a good news story in the United States Australia is.

LISA MILLAR: Mr Beazley believes the relationship between Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama is just as
intense as that of George Bush's and John Howard's. And he's confident the next three years will be
good for the two countries.

KIM BEAZLEY: The relationship between John Howard and George Bush was clearly visceral. They bonded
and they were close partners.

The relationship between Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama, I would say is as intense, but very cerebral.
What they value in each other is the contribution that they make to the policy discussion; the
ideas.

They've both been floating ideas about global finances, regulation of global finances, the
establishment of G20s, climate change issues, weapons of mass destruction issues - they'll be a big
conference in this town in a couple of months on that.

These are things which really sit, live intensively in the heads of the Australian Prime Minister
and the American President.

So I would say that at the level of policy relationship between Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama is as
intense as was that between John Howard and George Bush.

I think if I could achieve one thing it would, I'll get back to something I was talking about a
little earlier and that is that out there are something you might describe as the sunny uplands of
global politics for both Australia and the United States, and that is the fact that we inhabit a
region which will generate global prosperity over the course of the next century. What a fantastic
thing it is to be friends in that environment.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's Kim Beazley, Australia's ambassador to Washington ending that report from
our North America correspondent Lisa Millar.