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Today, at the National Press Club, the departing US ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich. Ambassador Bleich was appointed by president Barack Obama and began his posting in 2009. Jeffrey Bleich with his farewell address to the National Press Club in Canberra.(Bell rings)Welcome to the National Press Club and today's National Australia Bank'd dress. I'm David Spears. Our first address today in fact the change of Government on the weekend. Our guest today is US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich and his address today is timely really for a number of reasons. We've just seen today, just some hours ago, US President Barack Obama deliver his address to the nation and the world on Syria. It is an issue posing ensz r ernz challenge for the world and Barack Obama's presidency. Today is also the anniversary of 11 September which drew our two countries together, and tomorrow am bass door Bleich finishes up his role here in Australia. None have been better champions of this city, Canberra, and all of its attractions and I think none have brought with them a more impressive collection of Elvis memorabilia either. Please welcome Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich. (APPLAUSE) .Thank you very much, David, and I would like to thank the National Press Club for inviting me to speak here today for my final appearance as US Ambassador to Australia. It's very good to see all the members of the journalistic community here . It seems like you survived the election night coverage. I was particularly concerned when I saw Joe O'Brien and Michael Usher trapped in some sort of virtual parliament for some period of time there and glad to see they've retake enhuman form. You can tell I'm a diplomat rather than a politician, because I actually assume that journalists are are human, so I won't even get into the whole gurgler thing that you were dropping politicians into on Channel Nine. I would like to congratulate Tony Abbott on his election as PM of Australia, and just say how much I've enjoyed working with him over these past four years and how much we in the US look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Australia under his leadership.I also want to thank former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard for their valuable service to our alliance during my time here. Together, these three leaders have allowed me to set a new record as the only US ambassador who has served under four prime ministers... (LAUGHTER) under four years. So I think this is a record that may last a while. Indeed, I remember one of my very first trips back to the US after I bam ambassador. I was visiting with the President and he said, "Oh, things have gotten pretty interesting down there in Australia." And I said, "Yes, I have been there a week and they spilled the PM and just had an election with a hung parliament and looks like the first minority Coalition government since the 1940s," and the President looked at me and said, "What the hell have you been doing down there sm" I was afraid he would send me to some country we don't like.But it has been an unprecedented period in Australia and as well as in the US and for aur alliance and I think it's worth recalling where things stood just four years ago. When I first arrived in Australia, I would say there were serious questions about the US-Australia alliance. Four years ago the region was pessimistic. The US economy had been battered by the recession after the global financial crisis and our security forces were engaged in two very difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I think the most common question that I heard from the press gallery was, "Could the US meet the rising demands of this region, or would it recede or even be fenced out by rising powers?" Some pundits claimed that the US was in a permanent decline and they urged Australia to start looking to alternatives to its alliance with the US.And Australia at that time was also facing its own challenges. The economy was also suffering from the global financial crisis and Australian forces were spread thin in both Timor-Leste and in Afghanistan, and some commentators were saying that it challenged Australia needed to start hedging both for and against the alliance.You know, challenges and crises reveal character, and what would we do when aur alliance was tested in this way? And looking back now, I think our nations have delivered their answer.Rather than back away, we engaged more deeply. My President came here and addressed your Parliament and your PM came to Washington DC and addressed a joint session of Congress to express a shared vision for this region.When our confidence was ebbing, we re-dedicated our selves to a common vision and to aur alliance.- and to our alliance.Together we have updated and modernised every single element of our partnership. We constructed the world's largest gas facilities. We set now records on trade and investment. We landed a space laboratory on the surface of Mars. We helped prevent a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Of we produced the largest joint exercises in the entire world. We took our alliance into the new frontiers of cyberspace and near-space satellites. We dismantled Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. We re-invented the regional architecture of the Asia-Pacific. We reduced nuclear stockpiles and most of all, we brought Oprah Winfrey to these shores. (LAUGHTER) .But four years later , both of our nations, and our alliance are stronger than ever, and so that's what I would like to discuss today. The story of that resilience, our current re-balance and what this means for the challenges that face us in the future. So let me start with resilience. During tough times, both of our nations made some very hard choices.When capital was scarce, America's biggest companies didn't lay low. They made some of their biggest investments in all of history right here in Australia.Today, our bilateral investment tops over a trillion dollars, across all dimensions. We're both your largest investor and the largest destination for Australian investment. And those massive projects that you see all across the northern part of Australia are a statement of our faith. We are betting and we are betting hard on Australia, and the result of that bet has been that both of our economies have gotten stronger.The US economy defied every one of the doomsday predictions that that we would be in a two or three-year recession, if not a depression. Instead of a recession, our economy has risen every day I've been here. Our stock market has more than doubled since I arrived. Our economy has grown every single quarter, and unemployment has fallen every single month. We've revolutionised our entire energy mix so we will now be the largest producer of oil in the and we're already the cheapest producer of natural gas in the world, and this has made our economy competitive again. In fact, the international - the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, just released its competitiveness index and the US is the number one most competitive economy in the world.While we're not satisfied yet, we are well on the way to recovery, and Australia, too, managed through a very turbulent time - a minority government, urn certain world economics and a series of very difficult challenges, and, and Australia didn't merely survived those challenges t grew faster than any other OECD economy in the world. In my time, just the four years I've been here, Australia rose from the 15th largest economy in the world to the 12th, and Australia has earned a seat on the UN Security Council, where it's currently the President, and it will soon take over as the - assuming the leadership of the G20, the world's most important Economic Forum.And we both met our security challenges. The US completed its mission in Iraq and Australia completed its mission in East Timor, and together we made the very tough choice to increase our numbers in Afghanistan, and we've nearly completed our security mission there as well. At the end of this year, we'll be able to hand full security control back to the Afghan people.Terror still exists, but Osama bin Laden has met a just fate. His network in Afghanistan has been decimated.And his networks around the world are weakened and crumbling.And so in hard times, we bet on each other.We met our challenges head-on and we came out stronger.The doubts that I heard four years ago are disappearing.According to Lowy, since 2007, support for the US-Australia alliance among Australians has actually risen from 63% to 82% today, and that's just proof that when faith in our alliance is tested, we answer with even greater faith.But we've done more than just survive tough times. We have moved forward despite them.And that brings me to the re-balance theWe stayed strategically alert and even when our energies could easily have been distracted elsewhere, we stayed focused.Two years ago, President Obama and then PM Gillard announced this re-balance which is a series of economic, diplomatic and security initiatives and shifts that would turn our focus more on this region.The re-balance was, of course, essential because this region is now the new centre of economic gravity in the world.How is develops will largely define whether this century is marked by conflict or by cooperation, by needless suffering, or by great human progress.And our job has to be to ensure that this century will be peaceful and that it will be prosperous, and that's meant doing what it takes to help economies rise, to help new middle classes find their voice, and to teach nations how to cooperate.The President's announcement frankly could have been given anywhere, but together, Australia and the US, we chose to make that announcement here in Australia because ultimately partnerships and cooperation will determine the fate of this region, and there is no better model of partnership in the world than the partnership between the US and Australia. The truth is, is that trust comes very naturally to us. America and Australia were largely settled by people who arrived without pedigrees and without property. Some came by choice, some came in chains.But they came with a common creed, that it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter who your parents were, everyone deserves a chance, everyone deserves a fair go, and anyone who is willing to lend a hand is always welcome.Our vision for the Asia-Pacific is just an extension of those values that define us - belief in equality, in human rights, in open markets, and in opportunity. We believe that everyone has got a right to speak their mind, to have a say in their own government and how they will be governed, to live by the laws that they make and with everyone respecting the rule of law.That faith, that faith has been our nation's greatest asset.Our belief in those values and in each other again and again has gotten us to overcome two world wars, a Cold War, economic downturns, terror attacks, and every other problem that we face in our nations' histories.So what is this re-balance? What are the pieces of it? Let me start with diplomacy.We built a new and incredibly powerful web of connections among Asia-Pacific countries, because the way we're going to stop conflict is to form these new connections, to agree upon certain rules and to commit to working together through whatever differences we have peacefully. Through the last four years we've upgraded every one of our alliances, we've added new partners, we've joined new multi-lateral organisations, we've strengthened our existing relationships, formented new regional agreements. Just look what happened in the last four years - signed the treaty of cooperation, signed the first treaty at ASEAN, we have become a dialogue partner in the Indian Ocean regional cooperation group IOH Arc, and we have re-invigorate ed APEC. The diplomatic re-balance has been very, very real. We've just dramatically increased the tempo of every part of our engagement, including having visits of over half the US Cabinet, the greatest delegation from Congress, the President himself and of course Oprah. (LAUGHTER) .So,In terms of our economic re-balance, our partnership has proved the value of free trade. Our bilateral trade has grown dramatically in the last four years, despite the fact we had a global financial crisis and the reason it grew is because we have a free trade agreement, and so today our two nations are working together with 10 other nations to extend the prosperity of free trade throughout the region. Four years ago we had this idea of an Transpacific partnership and I remember coming into rooms like this and hearing it ridiculed. You know, people referred to this mixture of emerging economies, per are you, Malaysia, brew nigh, Vietnam, as sort of a coalition of the willing.Since then, we've overcome all the doubters. The agreement has grown to include Canada and Mexico and Japan. Currently, over 40% of the world's gross domestic prod dulgt is in this Transpacific partnership and we are right on the cusp of it becoming reality, and those TPP standards are the new higher quality standards that are going to define this region. It's not just about reducing art official terrorists. This region's prosperity depends upon transparency, depedestrians on openness, on eliminating corruption, rule of law, fair labour standards, environmental standards, and that is what this agreement will produce, and that's why I know that the President when he speaks with PM Abbott is looking forward to discussing the TPP because open markets and free trade are going to be vital to the success of this next century.Let me finally get to defence which is the last element of our re-balance. We've modernised every single aspect of our defence to keep the Pacific Ocean safe and secure.Our engagement here isn't new. The US has been and always will be a Pacific nation. Our large Estates, by geographic size, by population, by wealth are all on the Pacific Ocean. Our Pacific Command is based in Hawaii and our facilities in Quam sit squarely in the Pacific and for 70 years from Darwin to the Pacific Islands, from South East Asia to the Korean Peninsula, Americans have served and died to protect this region, along with our Australian mates.But while our commitment has existed for decades, what's required now has changed. The threats we face today are very different from the threats that confronted our parents and grandparents' generations. National security is no longer about a matter of conflicts between two nations. Instead today we've got to defend ourselves against threats that have no borders or enemies, who carry no flags and wear no uniforms.Today's threats are more likely to come from nuclear proliferators, from cyber criminals, from pirates, from terror networks, and from traffickers in drugs, weapons and people.We're also facing threats that are greater than any one nation can handle. We're soon going to be adding 2.5 billion people to the middle class in the Asia-Pacific, and unless we work together, there will not be enough food, water and energy to feed, hydrate and power that population.And solving these problems is going to require that we work together to find our solutions because no nation is going to be able to do that alone. In fact, if we fail, this region could face a future that is filled with conflicts over resources, mass migrations, droughts, famines and riots. But if we succeed, we can create new markets that will improve life all across the globe and the greatest reduction in poverty in all of human history, and that outcome is going to depend entirely on our ability to cooperate. So because of this our defence depends more than ever on binding nations together, decreasing mistrust and increasing collaboration, and that has been the focus of our re-balance and our force posture reforms.We've done and we continue to do that with training rotations in this region, in Darwin and in elsewhere, and it's not just with Australia. We're doing it with Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and with the Philippines and other nations.Because we have to be prepared for everything, from natural disasters, to pirate attacks, to just traditional armed conflicts. Last month we conducted our largest bilateral exercise in the world here off the shores of Australia.During the course of that exercise, we trained together to deal with everything from delivering aid after a disaster to restoring peace and preventing genocide in a violent civil war. Through this and through these other exercises, we've become more compatible, more aware of our collective strengths, and we're better prepared for any crisis. We've also modernised America's defence posture across the entire Asia-Pacific. We are going to have more ships in this region than before, more training in this region and we've now made it easier for our two nations to cooperate by ratifying the Defence trade koopgts treaty. We've ventured boldly into the world's new frontiers of cyberspace and near-space, and I don't have to tell you that cyber is just the wild, wild west now. The damage that can be accomplished online can be every bit as devastating as a physical attack, and because of this in the year 2011, we recognised cyber in our alliance treaty n the ANZUS treaty, and we've taken dozens of critical measures since to protect our assistance. And we tackled threats in near-space. All those satellites that are orbiting our planet in near-space, that is the central nervous system of all of our networks and all of our communications. We are at risk if any of those are intentionally attacked or if they collide. In the debris alone from a collision could bring our systems all crashing down.So, last year in Perth, the US and Australia made protecting satellites our new priority. Together we're building a network that will provide nations information on the orbits of satellites and also about space debris, and that's going to make tracking more accurate and it's going to reduce the risk of accidental collisions.So on every dimension, every space, virtual space, on the ground and up above, diplomatically, economicalally and security-wise, we're moving forward to foster cooperation in this region.And that's what brings me to my final point.None of this happens by accident. It depends on faith in ourselves and in those who represent us.During elections, we tend to demean and belittle our governments, talk about what they haven't done and what they should have done and we tend to condemn our leaders.But today, today on September 11, of all days, I hope we remember that our elections and our leaders have been our nation's strength.Our nations depend on trust and a common belief that we're all in this thing together.12 years ago today, terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people, Americans, Australians, representatives of 90 different nations, and their target wasn't simply those who they killed. Their ultimate target was us, those of us who survived.They hoped to make us do what terrified people do, to turn on each other, to fear each other, to think first of ourselves and forget about one another, because that is the one thing that will ruin a democracy. When confronted by fear on that day, we've chosen not to allow our selves to be defined by fear. Americans and our friends and our allies around the world, we resisted that natural instinct to turn inward. Rather than withdraw, we chose to reach out even further and to build new networks. We invented FaceBook and Twitter and Linked In and whole new ways of connecting our selves to the rest of the world. Rather than turn on each other, we bonded even more tightly than ever before.And rather than just think of ourselves, we made September 11 our national day of service, service to others.Each day on this year we perform acts of service, acts of charity, of grace and of giving, and this week I know members of our embassy will be cleaning wetlands here in Canberra, donating blood, donating goods to charities, planting trees. They're doing what public servants do every single day, they're giving the most precious gift that any of us has which is our short time here on Earth to help make a better world for others.I will always remember a bone-chillingly cold day here in Canberra, two September 11s ago, on the so-year anniversary, and in the face of freezing cold and driving rain, Australians stood, undeterred, unafraid, in solidarity with us.That, that is our democracy.I'm not a politician or a career diplomat, but the President asked me to pause my career, pause our lives, to strengthen a vital relationship, and today is the anniversary that have. He nominated me on September 11, exactly four years ago today.And I'm grateful that this date will always define my tenure, because for me the spirit of September 11 is what our nations and what our alliance has always been about - it's about ordinary people putting up their hands and offering to help.And this is the spirit that I've witnessed here over and over again during my time in Australia.And it's what I'm going to remember. I'm not going to remember all the gala dinners and the visits by leaders, and the negotiations. What will stay with me always will be those moments where Australians and Americans revealed that special character together.I remember some Victorian and NSW firefighters who ran from Los Angeles to New York City raising money so that they would arrive on September 11 and deliver those funds to the widows, orphans and survivors of their fallen New York firefighting mates.I remember a team of Aussies and American whose were out on a runway a few years ago, in the dead of night, trying to figure out how to put water cannons onto pallets and load them onto C-17 cargo planes, which has never been done before, in order to get these water cannons up to Japan and save tens of thousands of people from what could have been an absolute world catastropheI remember going up to Queensland as a bunch Americans who had been watching the Queensland floods, businesses, individuals, just start sending cheques because they wanted to help. They saw people suffering here on the other side of the Earth and they wanted to help. I went up to deliver those cheques and I went it a place outside Ipswich where people were lining up. Their homes had been devastated and they were getting in lines to get shovels and they weren't getting shovels to dig themselves out, they were getting them to dig out other people who they knew had been hit even harder than they had been hit.I remember those things and I think, "That's it. That's who we are. That's what makes us strong as people." Australians and Americans together. That's it. We're never satisfied with the status quo. We always believe somehow there is a better day ahead, that we can do something to make someone else's life better. In the US, we'll say; you know, "It will be OK, buddy." In Australia you say, "She'll be right, mate." But it is the same message, it is the same belief.These are the qualities that define us, and that have made our alliance endure and that give me confidence that we can handle together whatever the future may hold.To witness this for the last four years, to be part of it has been the greatest honour and privilege of my life.So, my wife Becky and I will leave this country with hearts full of great gratitude. Thank you, and God bless you, Australia.


Ambassador Bleich, thank you for that wonderful speech. We will move to our journalist questions and the first is from David Rowe. Ambassador, thank you for those very moving words . Let me say thank you also - well, which you well for the future and also wish the San Francisco Giants all the best for next year's World Series.You could have said that at the beginning of the season Next year,Next year I would just like to ask you about, a broad question about Syria, referring to the President's address this morning from the White House, he said - I will just quote the closing passage. He said, "America is not the world's policeman, but when with modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death, I believe we should act. That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional." He said it better than I did just then, but that articulated for me what is at stake not just for the world and fort the region, but for America herself. There has been a lot of talk about war fatigue in the US, but in fact Syria is quite a different - what is being proposed is quite different in the sense of the purity, I suppose, of the motivation behind what the President is proposing. I mean, we're talking about stopping dictators from stopping children to death, not to say that the other motives have been impure, but that's how it compares. What do you say to people around the world, the many people around the world who value greatly America's leadership on issues like this, its moral leadership, and what do you say to people who fear that the war fatigue is also a fatigue in the US among people who are worried about bread-and-butter issue s for that American exceptionalism?Well, I think, as the President said today, the US doesn't get involved in every conflict and we are not even considering war in Syria. But we do have responsibilities as great nations, and so for two years throughout the Syrian conflict we've said that we will not get involved in this conflict except to call upon the leaders of both sides, the regime and the opposition, to resist violence, to find a peaceful solution, and we've offered to provide and we have provided humanitarian assistance to refugees, but otherwise we've had four very clear rules. What will draw us into some kind of limited intervention, what would change our posture would be if there are attacks on our allies, if there was acts of genocide conducted, if the country was used as a breeding ground or a haven for terrorism that could strike us, or if there was use of weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. These were clear lines, and these are clear line thats world has signed onto. The prohibition on genocide, the prohibition on weapons of mass destruction, the prohibition on terrorism, the prohibition on aggression.If we don't stand up for those principles, then we aren't being the countries that I was just talking about, the ones that say, "Even if it's hard for us, when people are out there gassing children, we need to step up." If we can do something, we have to try. That's who we are. That's what defines us, and that's what the President has said we are prepared to do.Ambassador, Kieran Gilbert from Sky News. Can I thank you as well for your service and contribution to the US-Australian alliance and apologise on behalf of the nation for the boring few years in Australian politics.Thanks, kooer RannPM Tony Abbott says he supports the rotation of Marines through the Top End. He seems to indicate he would actually like it to go further. Is that possible? Is it likely?We currently have 250 Marines rotating in Darwin for six-month periods. Our expectation, our hope is that next year we'll increase up to 1100 and that ultimately by 2017 we will get to around 2500, that's been the goal from the beginning and that's the extent of it, but what we're finding is that it really is producing the ability to do what I described earlier, to stitch together this region, to allow us to know each other's capabilities, know each other's intentions, get common communications systems in place, to figure out where there are Kings, because if you do have a massive blood in the region, we've got to all respond together, and you don't want to have the responders arrive on a beach and then say, "Well, we need places to stay, we need food, we need water. We a
can't begin delivering aid for a while until we take care of our own people." You need to be able to land there and lay out hospitals and have your own fully equipped, fully staffed resources.That takes planning and practice and work, and most countries in the region don't yet have that capacity, and so this is all about capacity-building, and while you're building capacity, you build trust. If there is an incident at sea, we know who to call because we've worked with them in a training exercise, and you can call a captain or an Admiral who is from another country and they know who you are, they like you, they trust you, and you can resolve things peacefully. So knowing each other's capabilities, knowing each other's intentions and knowing each other, that is the key to a safer region, and that's what these training rotations are accomplishing.Next question from Nick Butterley from the 'West Australian'. To be said he would like to be an Asia first PM. Would you like to see him put Washington further up his list of priority? Also, just back on Syria, would you like to see, if there is some sort of limited intervention - obviously Australia couldn't do much, but would the US be looking for Australia to play some sort of role, perhaps a logistical role or some further sort of role in that case?Well, on the first question with respect to focus on Asia, as I was saying, we're focused on Asia. That doesn't mean that we're not focused on our alliance. Our alliance is part of our focus on Asia, so we think we're in perfect sync with what PM Abbott has said, which is, "Let's focus on this region which is the centre of gravity for growth." He talked about the importance of Indonesia. We couldn't agree more. It is a very important place for both nations to be building friendships, building partnerships, building infrastructure and capacity, so we can all rise together.With respect to Syria, I think Australia has once again demonstrated part of what we love about Australia. Even in the midst of an intense political election, and no-one politicised this issue - both sides.The Government and the Opposition, Labor and Liberal National Coalition said, "We condemn the use of chemical weapons. We believe a response is appropriate and we will do what's in our capacity to reinforce the norms against any use of chemical weapons and the ban on chemical weapons." Now, in this case, the type of limited and proportionate strike that's requireside one that very few nations in the world can accomplish, and that's one of the reasons why everyone looks to the US in cases like this. But we have been very pleased with the response of Australia on the issue of Syria.Next question from John Kerrin. Ambassador, John Kerrin from the financial. I just wanted to ask about the Transpacific partnership. Do you still believe that the end of the year is a reasonable timetable to conclude that? And have Australia's objections, if you like, been overcome in relation to things like allowing companies to sue governments and the like?No, I think we are going to work as hard as possible to meet that deadline. If it extends into next year, that doesn't mean that it's not going to happen, it just means it's slower than the process that we all want to achieve, but we are going to work as hard as we can to make sure it happen this year, because we have tremendous momentum. As you said, what Teds to happen in these trade agreements, I think we've had our 18th or 19th session of the TPP and we've been closing out a lot of chapters, but then you get to this point where you've gained momentum from closing the chapters you can agree on and now you've got some tough things to go through, and every trade agreement that has ever been signed gets to this point. We're at that point now and I think we all just need to lock arms and jump together, and that's going to be the effort that we do over this next three months. Next question from Michael Keating.Michael Keating from Keating Media, ambassador. First of all, congratulations on your time. I've known you for a little while during it and I've always enjoyed our conversations during that time. My question is, you've pointed to so many highlights of the US-Australia alliance, do you think there is any further for it to go, and what would your advice be to your successor, and as you say, you've seen four prime ministers. Are there any highlights of your time in Australia that you would be willing to share with us?Well, first, in terms of my advice to my successor, I wouldn't presume to give him advice, you know. Honestly, is he going to be a superb ambassador. If I've got any complaint about Ambassador Barry, it will be that he will make you all forget me too quickly. He is smart, energetic, hard-works, well connected, on heel with the President and across the administration, and I think it's a testament to how much we care about the relationship that he is going to be the next ambassador. And frankly, it make it is much easier for Becky and for me to leave, knowing that it's in such a safe and capable set of hands, so I wouldn't even presume to try to give him advice.In terms of the things I'm most proud of, I've often thought about this and I think if I could really reduce it just to one or two things, then I probably failed at this job, because the relationship is like a marriage, and it's hundreds of things that we do together that allow us to achieve the big things that I was describing, and - I mean, no-one ever says, in your marriage in the last four years, what's one the one or two things you're most troud of? It kind of means, if you can answer, that your marriage may be in a little trouble. There are certain things that I certainly will remember and those are the really emotional moments I have described but there were also just some, you know, crazy, out-of-body experiences. One of my favourites was when the President was out here and we were - normally you always see that image of the President going up and down the stairs to 'Air Force One' by himself. That's because everyone else goes down the back staircase. There is another one that no-one ever takes footage of. So we got to the plane and he was just in such a great mood, having been here in Australia, that as I was starting to walk to the back of the plane he said, "No, no, come on, Jeff, come on up with me." So as usual, he trots up to the top and does the big presidential wave and I trotted up behind and I get to the very top and I thought, "Well, I can't do a big presidential wave, but, you know, how many times in my life will I be standing here?" So I did like a little wave. (LAUGHTER) .And I walked inside and the President was like, "I saw that." .So, I mean, there are these incredibly special out-of-body moments that we're going to hold very, very dear.Matt Moran. Ambassador, thanks for your service. Matt Moran from Channel Ten. Firstly, you were quite good friends with Kevin Rudd. What's your opinion of how he was treated about I his own party, and also with Tony Abbott probably being closer to the Republicans and Democrats, how do you think that will affect the relationship? And finally, where are you going now? What's your next job?Man, that's three questions!OK, well, first, I was friendly with PM Rudd, I was very friendly with PM Gillard. I have been very friendly with PM Abbott, very friendly with, I think four foreign ministers and have a great relationship with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, - our presumed Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, so my sense is that I want all of them to be treated the same way, you know. I think anyone who step noots arena of politics is setting themselves up for a very tough challenging, critical time, and I think we all should pay tribute to their service and what I love about our elections is after an election ends, we all move on. There are no tanks in the streets in Canberra today, and you move forward, you don't worry about recriminations. At least that's how I've always had to try to conduct myself in the US, and that's what I would say about that.There are so many questions. What was the second one? Your next position, where are you going and the relationship between Americans and Australians?Yeah, well , I think in terms of what I'm GPing to do next, I - you know, I'd say that I'm being deliberately coy. The President may have some ideas in mind for me. My wife may have some other ideas in mind for me. I'm going to let the two of them work it out.And the final part, about Tony Abbott being perhaps close tore the Republicans side of politics, how that will go?Oh, yeah. No, that's just not true. I think we've had a number of meetings between - I know Secretary Clinton spent time with then Opposition Leader Abbott and so did the President when he was out here. Every one of the Cabinet members, every one of the members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans have spent time with the PM. They've all gotten on very well with him, and we have always made progress whether it is a Democrat or Republican in the White House, or Labor, Liberal or National in the Lodge. We made tremendous progress when President Bush was President and PM Rudd was PM. We made tremendous progress during the Keating eras, when you had different parties in different os, so you just go back through history, we've never had a time when we didn't make progress together. So I don't see any reason for concern.Our next question from Brendan Nicholson. From 'The Australian', ambassador, and thanks from us, too. Very entertaining. In the Defence section of your address today, you talked about the need for nations to cooperate and you talked about binding together. Now, we've had serious defence cuts in recent years. The incoming PM Tony Abbott has undertaken to restore Defence spending very comprehensively over the next few years, to get it back up to what it was, basically. How does the US feel about levels of defence spending in Australia and do you feel that we need to carry our weight in terms of the alliance?I would say generally both of our nations understand that there will be periods where Defence spending will go up and will go down. It depends upon our economies and how they're performing in a particular point in time t will depend a little on the security challenges we face t will depend a little bit on the politics of the day, and so we have always relied on Australia to meet its international obligations, alliance obligations and to meet its own security needs with whatever resource it is has at a particular given time, and if you look over the last 7 years, that has been a pretty good bet Australia has.In terms of philosophically, I think the US is looking for all of our partners to share the burden bigger, with us. The US right now - US taxpayers are bearing a disproportionate share of responsibility for the world's security, and the more partners that can work with us and lighten our load, the more sustainable our efforts will be, because our taxpayers have the same qualms and impatience as any other taxpayer, but we are confident that Australia today, as it has throughout history, will be one of our best partners in doing this, and I think for all of our partners, having that increased capacity, sharing the burden will also improve their own confidence, their own flexibility, their own capabilities, and that's good for everyone. So we encourage burden-sharing, but at the same time we don't have a particular point of view about where Australia's Defence budget is today as opposed to a year ago, as opposed to three years from today. We've got a lot of trust in you.Could I just ask on a related matter, cuts haven't just been in defence, but in foreign aid spending as well. Is there a US perspective on what's happened there?I think the US perspective on foreign aid is that even in tough times, if you look during the global financial crisis, when our stock market was plummeting to 6500 and people saw their life savings evaporating, we continued to put money into foreign aid, and we did it because we knew that our economy was going to come back, and the question is what was it going to come back into? Was it going to come back into a world that was riff with human suffering, con - was rife with human suffering, conflict, or would it be one in which you had greater stability and a world that we care about? I remember during - you know, I think the most impressive thing that I learned about Abraham Lincoln was that in the midst of civil war, he funded the largest program in all of American history, the land grab program. We were in the midst of the civil war. More people died in that war than in all of our conflicts combined, and the very existence of the union was at stake and people asked him, "Well, why are you doing this?" And he said, "Because when this war is over, and we have a union again, I want it be to a great union, and educating our people is part of being a great union." So we'll continue to support foreign aid. We'll be smart about it, we'll be strategic about it, and we are confident again that because Australia and the US tend to see the world the same way, that we'll make the right choices. Things will go up and down for a whole variety of reasons, but we will remain firm in that effort.Our next question from Bernard King. Bernard King from 'Crikey', Your Excellency. Thank you for your presentation today and thank you for being such an accessible ambassador here. We much preerkt it. In 2010, 2011, then Secretary Clinton gave a couple of quite significant speeches about the importance of freedom of expression on the Internet. It was somewhat in the context of the Arab Spring, but was also more broad than that. She spoke about the importance of freedom of expression, importance of online anonymity and even supported encryption online. In retrospect, to those speeches ring a little hollow given what we've learnt since then, mainly by Edward Snowdon, about the activities of the US government in monitoring the Internet, and in that context what's your message to Australians about whether they can use the Internet and use the products of Google and other big corporations and have their security protected?I recall President Clinton speaking very passionately and very sincerely about an open Internet, ind net freedom and freedom of speech on the it net, and those words don't ring hollow to me at all. They are a reflection of the fact that we believe that the virtual world is effectively the same as the real world in the sense that the same rules ultimately will apply, and that means that there will be crime and there will be attacks online, just as there are in the physical world, and we have to use effectively some tools to stop them, so the prison program, the which is the one that has gotten so much attention - prism program - I think it's worked to that issue, where you are protecting people's privacy, protecting civil rights but also preventing crime. When any one of us walk noose a bank, our image is captured and all that's captured is basically the equivalent of meta dat ta, a person of this height, wearing this clothes walked into the bank at this hour, and then left at some other time. And we're all used to, that we're all fine with t and the reason that it's valuable is because that in the event that there was a bank robbery, it's good to know if you were the one who came in with a gun or if you were someone who was in the bank at the same time and might be a witness and might be able to help solve the crime, but once you capture that image, you still have to go to a judge and you still have to get permission to find out more about the individual who was captured on film in order to proceed.Well, that's what happens with the Prism program. There are people who are making phone calls in very suspicious patterns on the Internet, calling places that are known for drug trafficking or known for nuclear weapons proliferation, calling at odd hours, calling in ways that are consistent with patterns of criminalty, but even then, you still have to go to a judge and get those proved.That's the balance that we strike on the Internet, just as it's the balance that we strike in the real world, that we allow metadata to be used but in terms of people's individual privacy, in terms of requiring some process and some basis for reasonable cause before people's privacy is compromised, and in terms of encouraging everyone to be able to be free to express their points of view, we have stayed firm and consistent, so they don't ring hollow to me, they ring especially true, even more so the more facts that have become available.

Captions by CSI Australia

This Program Is Captioned Live.

THEME MUSIC It's Venice, welcome to At the Movies. And it's the 70th anniversary of this prestigious film festival. We're looking forward to the program here. There's so many interesting directors represented. And the director of the science fiction film 'Gravity'. Beautiful, don't you think? What? The sun rise. Terrific. Robin Davidson's books 'Tracks' about her journey accompanied by four camels and a dog has been brought to the screen in a magnificent production directed by John occur in. And so I'm writing to you in the hope that your magazine will sponsor my trip. I believe 'National Geographic' to be of the highest international repute. The trip will take me through some of the most beautiful and barren country the desert can show. I'm enclosing a map of my trip onto the desert to the Indian Ocean. I have three camels and one small calf trained and ready to go. They are perfectly reliable beasts. Were you influenced at all by films like 'Walkabout'? Oh yeah, of course, 'Wake and Fright', any outback film, 'Samson and Delilah'. You look at everything and ignore everything. You're kind of looking at everything to see in one way what you don't want to do. If there's something else you can bring to it, you know, and I don't want to replicate everything else that had been done. But there's been some beautiful outback films and you want to be sort of that group, but bring something new to it and look, I was just struck by the opportunity of working in the desert, an opportunity to go out and shoot a film on a big empty stage, there's nothing in the foreground or behind. I just thought it was a great visual opportunity. I'm well aware of the hardship I will be facing. I am the first to admit I am remarkably unqualified for a hazardous undertaking, but this is precisely the point of my journey. I'd like to think an ordinary person is capable of anything. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Your's faithfully Robin Davidson. What about working with camels? How was that? I was saying it's so unfortunate they're not going to be, they probably will only be needed in films once every 20 years. They're the most obliging film animal. They just followed me around and we had this one camel who was particularly like perfect and every time he had to growl he growled and it was just they upstaged me on a daily basis. So what was the most difficult aspect of the whole thing? Probably just the arduousness of every day and it takes just a little bit of extra energy from you every day, even just being in a glary landscape in your time down, so it was probably just the sheer nature of that. (Instrumental music)

(Bell rings) My name is kitty Green and I have a film called 'Ukraine is not a Brothel'. My grandmother is Ukranian so I went to Ukraine to find out a bit more about my relatives, my family history there and I met these crazy girls and I had a camera and started shooting their protests and fell had a great time. The film is about a topless Ukranian feminist movement that started in committee yef and grown and expanded and it's across Europe. It's against dictatorship and they're in trouble with Putin and various security services in various countries. I was arrested probably seven or eight times making the film, abducted by the KGB in Belarus. The problem with the film is that it's quite revolutionary and they don't love it, because it's revealing a lot of the truth behind this movement and how it started and it's shocking for the public generally. It's going to be a crazy time for them now to face up to what they've been hiding from the press for a long time. (Jaunty instrumental music)

The people who are immediately affected by events in Dallas on 22 November, 1963 when President Kennedy was shot are the subject of a debut feature 'Parkland'. It's a tremendously moving piece of cinema. Nice day for a motorcade. President and Mrs Kennedy arrived from Houston... Tell the Secret Service... It's a good program. I want everybody downstairs to see the President. The story had only been told from the speculation and mythology theory. It had been told as a murder mystery. The story of the victim is a story of those to whom this really happened, those who survived it, those who executed what needed to be done that weekend they ignored in the process. Those stories have greater pathos, greater power, Shakespearean almost and as a storyteller, I appreciate and embrace, are more interested in the small acts of heroism that make, that turn an ordinary individual into a courageous hero. I was waiting for you to talk about that book I'm going to write. What book? It will have to be very deeply researched, a publisher with money will have to come with a paid writer to do the work. Mother, I just want to make sure you understand what is happening here today. Your son, my brother has apparently killed the most important person in the world. The Oswald family representation I never knew about that background and the fact that you chose an Aussie to play this monster mother. Jacki waver was the first piece of cast I went to, because I'd seen 'Animal Kingdom' this is before 'Silver linings Playbook' but after 'Animal Kingdom'. I recognised her as one of the great actors of our generation and literally said "If you do not do this movie I can't make this movie". She and I have become close friends since then. You know, Jacki is the sweetest most generous of actors and she has this uncanny ability to play monsters, but monsters with depth and texture. She's an extraordinary talent.

Well, here we are at the end of the first week of the festival and a lot of people are saying that the best film they've seen is the opening night one 'Gravity' directed by alfonso. I think it's visually one of the most extraordinary films. People are comparing it to 2001 saying it's the best space film since then. -- Alfonso Cuarsn. It is edge of the seat stuff. There's a couple of moments that seem a bit false to me, but generally speaking, I think this was a great opening and a really good film. I know, it's going to be a crowd pleaser all around the world, I'm sure. I think so, I also like 'Wolfskinder' set in 1946 in the chaos following World War II and it's about a group of German children who are trying to escape to the safety in Lithuania and it's a very dangerous journey through beautiful landscapes, beautiful forests and fields and streams and so on, but the danger is everywhere. Russian soldiers particularly. Well, I thought it started out with a bang. The first half hour was fantastic and then it loses a key dramatic element in the film and I thought it became - it's very beautiful, but I thought it became all style and no substance and I did not get the context of this film at all. I know there's chaos, I don't know what they're running from, I do not know why Australian scientists are shooting at children. I don't think it matters. It mattered to me. They don't know either. But does the filmmaker know. This is the question. Of course the filmmaker knows, because the film is based on survivors. The German film that I did like was 'The Police Officer's Wife' who made 'Into Great Silence' , but he's divided the film into 59 chapters, which really irritated people. It irritated me. It adds 20 minutes to the film and it's really annoying. I know, but at its heart it is an observational film about a family at the heart of which is physical abuse and it's not done sensationally. It's really gripping. I found it gripping. I didn't mind the intra titles and wonderful establishment of a establishment with the actress and the child, played by twins. I don't disagree about the content. There's wonderful things. Because he's come up with a 3-hour film, it could have been easily less than 2 hours and much better. It's content, content, content for me and I think there is great truth at the heart of this film. What about 'Night Moves', this is from the director of 'Old Joy'. It's about three eco terrorism s who plan to blow up a damn on a river somewhere in America's north-west and the film shows their plans and the aftermath and I think it's not a clear-cut pro-green or anti-green film. It's interestingly complex, don't you? I do, because it is a film about every action having consequences and I think she's dealt with it really well. What I like about the film is the presence of Jesse Eisenberg playing an inaccessible character who does not say much at all, but he's got a beautiful expressive face maturing fabulously on screen and they give lovely performances and her love of nature is in there, as well. It's clear. Those are some of the films we've seen in the first week. On with the second. I'm Michael Cody, we're here at the Venice Film Festival with our film 'Ruin'.

The film is a fever dream that brings these two very delicate, damaged people together and it's about the way in which love can I suppose temporarily stem the flow of the trauma they both felt with no finance, cast or script and it was an exercise in sheer will and experiment to will something into being quickly and with nothing more than instinct and it paid off. I think we literally cast, wrote and financed the film in four weeks. There's a thing with traditional film making where you write something, turn up on set and then you try and make what's in front of you conform to what's on the page. It's almost the reverse of that. Like you write it and you assemble those elements, but then when you get there and see they're not quite right, it's about dealing with what is actually in front of you and it's very exciting to be in the moment in that sense. (Instrumental music)

I always like a film that has something to serious to say, but says it in an accessible way 'Philomena' stars a former spin doctor who becomes involved with a character played by Judi Dench. She was an Irish woman who had her baby taken by the nuns and wants to know what happened to her son. If you want to help yourself to breakfast, we have two buffets. She just told me. Omelettes with your choice of filling. We have fresh pancakes. Thank you, trying to have a private conversation. My apologies, sir. There's no need to be rude, she's a very nice person. I'm sure she's one in a million, or one in 100,000. She's said it to about 10 people so that's just maths. You of all people should understand be nice to people on the way up, you might meet them on the way down. I read an article in the 'Guardian' and it moved me. It chimed with me because it was about Catholicism, it was about sex, it was about a mother and her son, a very simple thing. In some ways it was very simple and it resonates with me so much, I thought "How could anybody not be moved by this". I did not abandon my child. BY ←!EZ SPEAKER 02→: Q. Did you want to remind people of some of the abominable things the Catholic Church have done? I wanted to shine a light on it, only because it's something... what's important is it raises it to be something to be talked about. What drives me mad is the church as an institution, it's modus operandi seems to have been reticence and a siege mentality and both of those things are destructive and what's important is that people talk about it, because you can't move on from something if