Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Prime Minister hosts dinner for US Secretary of State at Kirribilli House.

Download WordDownload Word



This transcript has been prepared by a source external to the Department of the Parliamentary Library.


It may not have been checked against the broadcast or in any other way. Freedom from error, omissions or misunderstandings cannot be guaranteed.


For the purposes of quoting verbatim from a transcript, it is advisable to verify the transcript against the broadcast.





Friday 17 March 2006

Prime Minister hosts dinner for US Secretary of State at Kirribilli House


TONY EASTLEY: The little suburb of Kirribilli on Sydney's harbour-side is us ed to seeing visible security, after all it's where the Prime Minister lives and where he walks. 


But last night was something special as the Prime Minister hosted a dinner for the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 


Kirribilli was very secure. 


Among the other guests, chatting amongst themselves and taking in the sweeping views across the Harbour to the Opera House, were senior cabinet ministers and Australia's Ambassador to the US, Dennis Richardson. 


Condoleezza Rice is in Australia to discuss regional and global security matters such as the Iraq conflict and China's military build-up. 


But she's also been at pains to demonstrate the Bush administration's gratitude for Australia's loyalty. 


Karen Barlow reports.  


(Sound of helicopter) 


KAREN BARLOW: With helicopters, security and the media watching every move, the Prime Minister John Howard welcomed the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice into his Sydney Harbour home. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Good evening. 






JOHN HOWARD: Lovely to see you. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: So nice to see you. 


JOHN HOWARD: Welcome to Kirribilli House. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Thank you. It's wonderful to be here. 


JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, terrific and… 


KAREN BARLOW: Waiting inside were other guests including the Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, the Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Australia's Ambassador to the United States Dennis Richardson. 


The guest of honour was taken out on the patio for the best harbour views. 


JOHN HOWARD: The history of that is amusing. It's called Fort Denison and it was erected at the time of the Crimean War to keep the Russians out. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Is that right? 


(Condoleezza laughs) 




KAREN BARLOW: Condoleezza Rice is far from your average tourist taking in the sights. 


She's in the country for another two days of security talks, with Iraq, Iran and China high on the agenda. 


In her only one-on-one Australian interview, Dr Rice has told the 7:30 Report 's Kerry O'Brien that while Iraq was at a crossroad it has not descended into civil war. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Yes, they are experiencing great difficulty in making their way to democracy, but democracy is never easy. I think we, in the United States and probably in Australia, people should be humble about our own path to democracy, which was difficult and had its own false starts and its own mistakes. 


KAREN BARLOW: On Iran and its suspected nuclear weapons programme, Dr Rice says while the US has led pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, the country is in fact defying the international community. 


CONDOLEEZZA RICE: People are very concerned that Iran has been, under cover of civil nuclear power, building a nuclear weapon. The Iranian machine wants to make this about its rights to civil nuclear power. 


Nobody is saying that Iran cannot have civil nuclear power. But for 18 years Iran lied to the IAEA. That's why Iran has a problem with the international community. 


Iran has sponsored to terrorists and terrorism around the world. That's why Iran has a problem with the international community. 


KAREN BARLOW: Curious about why China is building up its military, Condoleezza Rice has called on the rapidly rising country to be more open and become a force for stability. 


Dr Rice and her Japanese counterpart Taro Aso are likely to detail their concerns about China at Saturday's trilateral security talks with Alexander Downer. 


But first this morning, the US Secretary of State and the Prime Minister will meet formally before she heads to Melbourne to catch part of the Commonwealth Games. 


TONY EASTLEY: Karen Barlow reporting.