Source: Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister: On indulgence, Mr Speaker.
The United States of America is a great democracy.
Vibrant, passionate, heartfelt, resolute.
And the people of the United States have spoken again – and electing its 46th President in its 244 years of being a Republic.
I join with other nations and other nations’ leaders Mr Speaker, and say on behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian people, that I congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on their election.
Almost 150 million votes cast, possibly more when the final tallies are in.
Remarkable engagement and participation. And we celebrate that as Australians, as a liberal democratic people.
Australians always do take a deep interest in US elections – in part because of their vibrancy and passion, but more so because our history and our futures being so closely intertwined.
The United States is amongst our oldest of Allies and our firmest of friends.
The Australian-US Alliance is a pillar of our nation’s security and the stability of our region.
An alliance we have nurtured over nearly seven decades under the ANZUS alliance.
As President-Elect Biden put it when he visited Australia as Vice President in 2016: “Thank you for having America’s back. And we will always have your back.”
He said: “The partnership between Australia and America is at the core of our vision for the region’s future. It’s not what we can do for Australia. It’s what we can do with Australia.”
It’s always been that way, a true partnership.
This is an Alliance built on fundamental shared values: the equal and unalienable rights of all people, the supremacy of the ballot box, the rule of law, freedom of the press, separation of powers, the free flow of commerce and ideas, market based economies, mutual respect.
It’s a relationship that transcends partisan politics.
Since 1918, it is a relationship that has been built upon and strengthened by 24 Australian Prime Ministers and 18 American Presidents. From right across the political divide.
We are all custodians of that relationship, unencumbered by domestic partisanship.
I thank also President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretaries Pompeo and Mnuchin and Esper– and the entire Trump administration for their deep commitment to this relationship over these past four years. And I thank them for the working relationship that we’ve had and indeed will continue to have as the administration transitions.
We have worked in partnership to strengthen our alliance and to advance shared interests in our region and all around the world.
We have forged new areas of cooperation – in space, critical minerals, frontier technologies, and more.
And this work will go on. And a new chapter will begin on the 20th of January, 2021.
2021 marks 70 years since the signing of the ANZUS Treaty under Prime Minister Menzies and President Truman.
ANZUS is the cornerstone of our security and I look forward to honouring that anniversary at an appropriate point with the President. And I have written to the President-Elect inviting him to be in Australia for the purposes of the celebration of the ANZUS alliance.
President-Elect Biden has been a good friend of Australia over many years.
There is a shared affinity. President-Elect Biden once said this about Australians: “In my view. Australians are defined by their character; by the grit, their integrity, their unyielding resilience.”
Having witnessed the President-Elect’s personal and public journey over many years, I believe we can say the same of him. A man of grit, character, integrity and unyielding resilience.
Australia looks forward to working with him on the many challenges the world faces.
We are still in the midst of a global pandemic – the health, economic and geo-strategic consequences of that are still being played out.
Australia believes in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. We are committed to upholding the rules, the norms and standards of our international community.
We share views on the importance of multilateral institutions and strengthening democracies.
And on the crucial role of open, rules-based trade as the world emerges from the pandemic recession.
And like President-Elect Biden, we are committed to developing new technologies to reduce global emissions as we tackle climate change.
My message at this time is clear: American leadership as always is indispensable to meeting these challenges.
And as I said on the White House South Lawn last year Mr Speaker: Australia looks to the United States, but we don’t leave it to the United States.
And we never have.
We play our part.
We carry our own.
Sir Robert Menzies once said that Australians and Americans “are warmed by the same inner fires” – and we are.
That’s why this relationship has always been bigger than any one of us.
As Prime Minister, and to the President-Elect we share now in that special custodianship of that relationship that has endured so long and been so important for the citizens of both our countries.
And I have absolutely every confidence it will continue to go from strength to strength – as we work again with an old friend of Australia, President-Elect Joe Biden.