Thursday, 24 April 2014

Speeches at the Parliamentary Reception, Parliament House in Canberra

Prince William during his speech at the Parliamentary Reception.

Speech by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at Parliament House, Canberra, 24th April 2014

Prime Minister, Mr President, Madam Speaker, Chief Justice, Leader of the Opposition, Ministers and Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen - thank you for your truly warm welcome.

When Catherine and I arrived in Sydney last week, I said how much we had been looking forward to this visit. Drawing on my own experience, I told Catherine that it would be wonderful, and so it has been. Anticipation has become deep admiration.

There is so much to admire about Australia. Catherine and I acknowledge the timeless values of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They have been the custodians of this ancient and majestic continent for thousands of years. The Traditional Owners' stories, and the magnificent and moving rock art at Uluru, which we saw for ourselves, are a priceless inheritance. They tell us not just about the past but provide a precious vision for the future.

Catherine and I had the privilege earlier this week of visiting Sydney's Taronga Zoo, which is committed - through conservation - to just such custodianship. And I know, too, how important Australian support has been for the global consortium, United for Wildlife, which is fighting the scourge of the illegal trade in wildlife, and poaching, something very close to my heart.

Australia has a quality of life and a level of excellence that makes it a magnet: an enormously attractive place to live, trade, invest, and indeed just visit. The arts and sciences flourish; Australian sporting success is legendary; agriculture - from the traditional to the technologically most advanced - is hugely successful. This is a country that is in the front rank internationally.

We have both seen all this for ourselves. Australia may be known as "the Lucky Country", but often the harder you work, the luckier you get. Australians make their own luck. The distinct Aussie formula that has fashioned such a dynamic society is the source of admiration and envy around the world.

What Australia has achieved goes much wider than Australia itself. The last thirty years have seen the rise of the Asia-Pacific region. In a short time, it has become an economic power house with huge consequences for the whole world order. The Asia-Pacific region is now a key actor - sometimes the key actor - in confronting many of the global challenges of the twenty first century. It is enormously important - and reassuring - that Australia is at the heart not just of its own success but of the wider regional story, too. Australia is a champion of justice and economic and political freedoms. Australia plays an invaluable role in building an open and peaceful Asia-Pacific for the benefit of all.

Over the years, Australians have fought bravely for freedom in numerous conflicts. As those who were involved pass on, succeeding generations must remember and keep vivid the sacrifice they made.

Catherine and I look forward to paying tribute to them at tomorrow's ANZAC Day commemoration; and - with my brother Harry - to taking part in next year's Gallipoli centenary.

Reluctantly, Catherine, George and I leave Australia tomorrow. Thank you for the warmth and generosity that has been shown to us during our visit. We go away with wonderful memories, and George goes away with his cuddly wombat, which he has taken to chewing so lovingly. We greatly look forward to coming back. And when we do return, it will be to marvel again at all that Australia is, and will yet become.

Thank you.

Address by the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott to the Parliamentary Reception for Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

A couple of years back, Kelly Slater visited Manly in my electorate. There were over a thousand screaming fans – as you would expect when the world’s greatest surfer visited the world’s greatest beach. But as I have seen with my own eyes, Sir, Ma’am, in Manly you are bigger than Kelly Slater, perhaps by a factor of ten!

My friends, this is the 50th royal visit to Australia and it will be remembered as one of the very best.

With young children and with teenagers, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, with Indigenous people, with Australians in all our diversity who have flocked to royal events, your dedication to all your future realms, Sir, and your grace and warmth, Ma'am, have been abundantly on display.

Now, royal visits are a reminder that the best things in life are those that have stood the test of time.

Over centuries, the Crown has come to symbolise the ideals of duty and service at the heart of our culture.

People instinctively warm to those who represent the good to which we all aspire.

We saw that during your previous trip, Sir, in 2011, specifically to meet communities impacted by the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods.

As a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, you know what it's like to endure ‘drought and flooding rains’. You know what it means to serve in the armed forces.

We have seen in you, Sir – during both your visits – through your words and through your deeds, the decency and the sense of duty of your father and the compassion of your mother.

Your great-great-grandfather, the future George V, opened our first Parliament in 1901.

Your great-grandfather as Duke of York opened our first Parliament House in 1927.

Your grandmother, the Queen, opened this building in 1988.

And your father, the Prince of Wales, has been here many, many times.

Many decades, hence, when a currently unknowable Australian Prime Minister welcomes your son, King George VII to this building, that will be a sign of the stability and the continuity in the life of our nation.

Your Royal Highnesses, you have taken such obvious pleasure in this visit and that warmth has been amply reciprocated by the Australian people amongst whom you will always be most welcome.

It is not necessary to live permanently in Australia well and truly to belong here.

This visit has meant a lot to millions of Australians.

Thank you for the joy you have given us.

The Duchess of Cambridge greets members of the public on their departure from a reception hosted by the Prime Minister at Parliament House in Canberra.

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