Remarks at Samoa Parliament House ceremony

  • Speech, check against delivery

JULIE BISHOP: Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, theHon Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers, Parliamentarians,High Commissioner Sara Moriarty and the Australian High Commission team anddistinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

MyMinisterial colleague, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and I are delightedto be here this afternoon on what we would call the soft opening of Maota Fono,this magnificent building. We were very much looking forward to seeing theconstruction work to date, and we are all looking forward to its finalcompletion later this year. The Australian Government is pleased to assist inthe rebuilding of Samoa's Parliament House.

The originalbuilding constructed in 1972 had served the Samoan people very well, but now itwas time for a new Parliament House, and our support has enabled you toconstruct a building that has not only been an architectural wonder but it hasalso driven resilience within your communities - for the local contractor employedlocal trades people, people have jobs on this site and will continue to do so.That helps strengthen communities. Job opportunities for local people meansmonies for the families but it also means developing skills for future jobs.

We thinkthat this building will serve the Parliament well. The reason Australia agreedto support an infrastructure project like this is because democracy matters andwe believe that democratic institutions need to be defended, promoted,protected. The rule of law, an underpinning of a democratic society, also mustbe upheld. So this building is the symbol of accountability and transparency ofhigh levels of governance, of Members of Parliament putting the interests ofthe people above their own interests and that is why we support the funding ofthis Parliament house.

Mr PrimeMinister, as we advised you a little while ago, the Australian Government isalso pleased to grant funding for the construction of a new LegislativeAssembly Office. We will carry out a scoping study but we won't take too longand I can assure you that we want to see the construction of the newLegislative Assembly Office as soon as possible so that Parliamentarians canoperate so Parliament can fully function.

This is anexample of Australia's longstanding and enduring commitment to Samoa. Ourrelationship will endure because we are reliable partners, we are trustedfriends and we are family. The Pacific is our part of the world. We believethat Australia has a particular responsibility in promoting and supportingpeace, stability and security in Samoa and across the Pacific. That's why ourdefence programs, our policing programs, our border security managementprograms are all designed to support resilience, stability, security in Samoa.Our Pacific Patrol Boat Program will see a new patrol boat, a Guardian Class PatrolBoat delivered here next year. Training for your personnel who will beoperating the Guardian Class Patrol Boat will start in April and I understandthat both men and women will be among the crew trained for the pacific patrolboat. We are also pleased that we have been able to provide a King Airplane foraerial surveillance to back up the work of the patrol boat, in supervising yourEEZ, supporting the sovereignty around your beautiful islands.

TheParliament House will stand as a symbol of Australia's deep and enduringengagement with Samoa, and our love and affection for the people of Samoa. Longmay Australia and Samoa be the closest and dearest of friends.

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