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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1823

Australia-United States Relationship

Mr CREWTHER (Dunkley) (14:04): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister update the House on the strength of Australia's economic and security relationship with the United States?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:04): I thank the honourable member for his question. As honourable members know, we returned from the United States this morning, and I want to thank President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for the very generous welcome they accorded us. There were very, very constructive discussions and it was a very productive visit. The visit was designed to broaden and deepen our enduring relationship, our great alliance, with the United States. We are building on 100 years of mateship and we are set for 100 more. On 4 July this year, it will be 100 years since the first time Australian troops and American troops went into battle together, led by an Australian general, General Sir John Monash. Australians and Americans have stood side by side in freedom's cause ever since. We committed in Washington to our shared endeavour to keep our people safe and secure, to combat terrorism around the world and to maintain the maximum pressure on North Korea to stop its reckless and illegal conduct.

Along with security, jobs and the economy were at the forefront of my discussions with President Trump and senior members of his administration. The United States is our most important economic partner. A quarter of all foreign direct investment in Australia is from the United States, and that investment drives, directly or indirectly, one in 12 Australian jobs. Our meetings with President Trump, Vice-President Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and the National Governors Association, together with premiers and chief ministers, confirmed that our trade and investment links with the United States have never been stronger. It was impossible not to be struck by the sense of economic optimism and growing business confidence in the United States. President Trump's company tax cuts have generated a real economic buzz in the United States. Business leaders are enthused both by the tax reform and by the cuts in regulation and red tape, and we are already seeing this translated into higher levels of investment and higher wages.

I was accompanied by the most influential delegation of Australian business leaders ever to leave our shores for the United States as well as most of our state premiers and chief ministers. It is a great tribute to the Business Council of Australia, assembling that CEO delegation, and also to the great work of the foreign minister and our ambassador in Washington, Joe Hockey, who has led the charge on our campaign to deepen, broaden and strengthen an already strong relationship with our greatest ally, the United States of America.