Kokoda Village Community Reception

Prime Minister

Thank you for the extraordinarily warm welcome to the Oro and Northern Provinces.

I’m told Oro means welcome. And that couldn’t be more appropriate. So thank you again.

To the children who sang the national anthems for us – the Australian national anthem has never sounded better. Thank you for that honour.

In a short while we’ll set out on the footsteps of giants.

Our people fought together in World War Two on the Kokoda Track and defended Australia and defended Papua New Guinea.

And the Australian people will never forget the extraordinary bravery, courage, resilience and support that the soldiers, but also, those who were assisting Australians from Papua New Guinea, did during that darkest hour of 1942.

The Prime Minister, my dear friend, James Marape and I will walk side by side, step by step, together.

It symbolises the fact that Australia and Papua New Guinea’s future is together.

Whether it be on defence issues.

Whether it be in tackling climate change and the challenges of the 21st century.

Whether it be through our economic support.

This is a relationship that is based upon the people to people relationships. They were forged during that period at the Kokoda Track.

And even as your national anthem proudly asserts, you now have been through 49 years of independence and freedom.

And next year will be an important celebration of 50 years of remarkable achievement from a nation that includes such diverse cultures.

I thank those who shared the culture with your Australian visitors today.

More than 830 languages in this great country, but you are united.

And I thank you, Prime Minister Marape, for your leadership of this nation, for your friendship with Australia.

I pledge that our journey over the coming days until we will commemorate the sacred day for Australia of Anzac Day on Thursday at the Isurava Memorial, will be regarded as when we took that extra step forward in forging a relationship of brothers and sisters.

Together as one, we will go forward.

Thank you very much for the very warm welcome and for giving me the honour.

I am humbled by the reception that we have received.

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