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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 10265


Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:10 PM) —Mr Speaker, on indulgence: we also join with the Prime Minister in congratulating John Key and the National Party of New Zealand on their historic election victory on Saturday night. New Zealand and Australia are, indeed, as close as any two nations can be. It is remarkable that our close friendship can transcend our competition on the sporting field, which occasionally does bring a bit of tension into the relationship. But I believe our relationship is stronger because it is forged in the fire of sporting contest, just as our friendship has been forged in the fire of war. Australia and New Zealand joined together in creating the name of Anzac, and that remarkable combination, which had its birth on the day that we celebrate as our most important day of remembrance of sacrifice, Anzac Day, reminds us of how close our two nations are.

John Key is a highly capable man who will work tirelessly for his country’s reinvigoration and renewal. He is going to put his considerable professional experience working in the international financial markets to great use in his leadership of the New Zealand economy through these very difficult times. We look forward to a close working relationship with the new Prime Minister and his government. We wish him well in facing the very many challenges he will now confront as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

We also want to join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the contribution of the Rt Hon. Helen Clark to trans-Tasman relations throughout her nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has always been a stalwart friend of Australia and a strong advocate for her people. The former coalition government of course worked very closely with Helen Clark, particularly, as the Prime Minister noted, in the joint efforts in the Pacific islands and especially the Solomon Islands. So, with that, we join with the Prime Minister in congratulating the new Prime Minister of New Zealand and also in acknowledging our respect and gratitude for the efforts of his distinguished predecessor.