Address to the community welcome banquet for Premier Li Qiang

Prime Minister

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Thank you to Chung Wah Association and the organisers of this event.

It is always such a pleasure to celebrate the great Chinese-Australian community here in Western Australia – as it is anywhere right across our great continent.

And to celebrate you in the presence of Premier Li is truly significant.

This is, of course, the first visit to Australia by a Chinese Premier since 2017.

It follows my visit to China last year – the first by an Australian Prime Minister since 2016.

Welcoming Premier Li to our shores is a timely opportunity to showcase our national values, the qualities of our people, and the strengths of our economy.

We are also showcasing one of Australia’s great success stories.

It is a story that the Chinese-Australian community continues to write in our cities, suburbs and regions.

It is a story written in the ink of aspiration and ambition, of energy and hard work.

And it is a story bound so powerfully in the strength of your community.

The Chinese-Australian community – and the proud, beating heart of your community culture that you carry within you – are such an important part of our national story and our national identity.

It’s a story that has been written for two centuries now, generation by generation, ever since the 19th century, when the first Chinese people came south seeking opportunity in a land that was at once both new and ancient.

Australia is now proudly home to some 1.4 million people of Chinese ancestry.

The energy carried by all who come here with that greatest of aspirations – to make a new life for themselves and their families – is an energy that has ultimately made Australia a better nation for us all.

Chinese-Australians stand as an important link between the land that is your home, and the land that is home to your beginnings.

And just as you have kept the conversation going at a personal level, it is essential that the governments of Australia and China keep engaging with each other.

My trip to China last year coincided with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries, relations that began with the Australian Labor Government’s recognition of the People’s Republic of China.

In those 50 years, we have seen China go through extraordinary change. What cannot be overstated is the sheer scale and the speed of the achievement.

In recent decades, China’s economic transformation has lifted more people out of poverty than has been achieved over that period of time in any nation.

Western Australia’s role in that achievement is undisputable. Indeed, this great state’s contribution is spelt out across the skylines of Beijing and Shanghai.

Ninety-nine per cent of Australian iron ore exports to China come from WA.

And when we turn to the fuels of the future energy revolution – including lithium and other critical minerals and rare earths – WA is right there.

That is the extraordinary power of this state.

Like Premier Li’s presence here now, my visit to China last year was a step forward in stabilising the relationship between our two nations.

We continue to cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest.

And every step of the way, I can tell you that the Australian Government recognises this community as an intrinsic part of the nation we have become.

A nation in which every individual counts and is respected.

A diverse and democratic nation enhanced by people of every faith, background and tradition.

Just as the true magic of an orchestra is that it isn’t just the same instrument over and over, our power is that we all play our different parts yet come together in harmony and unity.

And the part your community plays in that is definitely worth celebrating.

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