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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 10263

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) (2:02 PM) —Mr Speaker, I seek to make a statement on indulgence.

The SPEAKER —Indulgence is granted.

Mr RUDD —On 4 November in the United States we saw an example of the greatness of democracy at work. The people of the United States exercised their democratic right and elected the 44th President of the United States. It is estimated that up to 130 million Americans cast their votes. The majority of them voted for Barack Obama. Forty-five years after Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character, the people of the United States have made that dream a reality. On behalf of the government, I want to extend to the President-elect our congratulations. Senator Obama was elected for the message of hope that he brought to the people of America. But equally it is a message of hope for the world.

We face many great challenges in the 21st century: the global financial crisis, climate change and international security. For the international community to tackle these challenges, we will need the continued leadership of the United States into the future. We are confident that Senator Obama will provide that leadership. We are also confident that the strength of the relationship between Australia and the United States will continue to prosper and to develop. Our alliance has been strong and continuous under 13 Australian prime ministers and 12 American presidents, Labor and Liberal, Republican and Democrat. Our alliance transcends politics.

When Senator Obama is sworn in as President of the United States on 20 January next year the Australian government will be ready to work closely with the new administration to build on the strong foundation that already exists in terms of security cooperation, to respond together to the great challenges of the global financial crisis and the ensuing downturn in the global economy and to forge a new international consensus on climate change. In the months ahead, Australia looks forward to continuing to work closely with President Bush and his administration on the many immediate challenges that we share, most critically the global financial crisis, on which the President’s continuing leadership remains important.

Senator Obama’s victory is historic. The Australian government looks forward to building a partnership with the new administration which will reinforce the vital and natural ties that have always existed between Australia and the United States, ties that serve both our peoples and both our governments so well.