Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Speech to welcome His Excellency Mr Borislav Paravac, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia Herzegovina.



Download PDFDownload PDF

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY

MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC (Retd) GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA WELCOME TO HIS EXCELLENCY MR BORISLAV PARAVAC, CHAIRMAN OF THE

PRESIDENCY OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA GOVERNMENT HOUSE MONDAY 6 JUNE 2005

Your Excellency Mr Borislav Paravac, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen and Lady Stephen Senator the Honourable Paul Calvert, President of the Senate, and Mrs Calvert His Excellency Dr Zdravko Todorovic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina Distinguished guests all

Mr President, Marlena and I extend to you a friendly welcome to Australia on behalf of the Australian government and people. I am very pleased to welcome you as the first senior Bosnia and Herzegovina leader to visit this country, and I trust your program over the next couple of days will enable you to gain a deeper appreciation of our nation and its people.

The Australian community is aware of the recent tragic history of your country; civil conflict, the heavy loss of life, family dislocation, and the destruction of infrastructure. Along with other nations, Australia has shown a supportive interest in the changes taking place in your country, overseen by the international community, following the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

We are aware of the reforms under way in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and encourage the tripartite Presidency in its pursuit of a workable, peaceful transition towards full EU membership, including membership in due course of NATO.

Primarily, Australia’s links with Bosnia and Herzegovina are people based, and we see that as a great strength. Almost 24,000 Bosnian-Herzegovinians are living in Australia, an increase of 76 per cent since 1996.

Australians are very conscious of the contributions of people who continue to settle here from all over the world; starting new lives, establishing families, and contributing to Australia’s peace and prosperity.

We actively encourage their participation in the Australian community, and we are passionate about promoting all members of the Australian community working and living side by side in harmony, regardless of their cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs and heritage.

Australia’s international success as a mid level power is underpinned by our stable democratic political system, a sound economy and by a cohesive social fabric, underpinned by the rule of law. This success hasn’t happened by accident.

Like many other peoples, including your own, we have had to face enormous challenges (including war) and make difficult choices. However, we have been fortunate not to suffer the agony of civil war or revolution.

1

Our nation of twenty million people is, in many ways, self reliant. Yet our island continent is decisively outward looking, whose people are friendly, hard working and innovative. Australia is consistent in working hard to develop and broaden our relations with in our region and the rest of the world.

While such exchanges and agreements are quite rightly developed at the government-to-government level, it may be that in time, opportunities arise for your nation to explore and commercially engage Australian skills, including our expertise in high technology, health, mining, agriculture, renewable energy and education.

Against this background we note that Australian businesses are welcoming the economic reforms that will provide opportunities for increasing commercial activity with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mr President, I trust that your visit to Australia, brief as it is, will strengthen the bonds between our nations, enrich the partnerships already in place, and open new opportunities for dialogue, to our mutual benefit.

Marlena and I wish you a very happy and productive visit to Australia, and every success for the future.