Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Chinese New Year Message

I extend to all our Chinese friends my best wishes for the Chinese New Year.

As we enter the Year of the Tiger, we have every reason to be optimistic about the future of the Australia-China relationship. Today, Australia is home to 600,000 people of Chinese descent and Chinese dialects are the second most commonly spoken language in Australia after English. In 2009, more than 350,000 Chinese tourists visited Australia and over 140,000 Chinese students enrolled in Australian institutions. People-to-people links are an integral part of any bilateral relationship. I am pleased to see that the links Australia has developed with China are flourishing.

The Australian people warmly welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Australia late last year. I trust that the high tempo of high-level visits will continue this year. We were delighted that Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Australia's Shanghai 2010 World Expo national pavilion in January 2010. Our national pavilion will ensure Australia has an impressive presence at the Expo. I also look forward to the launch of the Year of Australian Culture in China in mid-2010, an opportunity to expand our strong cultural ties.

I wish you all good health, happiness, success and prosperity for the New Year.