Speech by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Address to Australian Council of Chinese Organisations’ Gala Banquet for 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China

Location: The Marigold Restaurant, Haymarket, Sydney


Thank you Consul General, I will make sure your message is passed on to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. Can I start by acknowledging Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir; my State colleagues Minister Victor Dominello, John Robertson and Ernest Wong; Dr Tony Goh, Chairman and community leaders; Consul General; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Given my responsibilities for multicultural affairs and settlement services, it is my great honour this evening to be representing the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP as we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

The Prime Minister has asked me to pass on his very best wishes and to read the following message on his behalf:

I am pleased to provide this message for the 65th anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

This gala dinner is an opportunity to come together and celebrate China’s history, traditions and achievements.

It is a chance for Australians of Chinese origin to reflect on their ancestral heritage, and for the community to deepen its appreciation of Chinese culture.

Since 1949, China has undergone great economic and social changes. China’s rising economic power has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Indeed, the emergence of the Chinese middle class in little more than a generation may qualify as the most remarkable transformation in human history.

The economic development of China has also been one of the defining characteristics of our era. It has helped sustain the prosperity of all its economic partners and has underpinned dramatic increases in trade, especially for key resources exporters such as Australia.

China’s reputation for industriousness, resourcefulness and energy will sustain its success into the future.

Australia’s relationship with China continues to go from strength to strength. China is our biggest trading partner, our largest source of immigrants in most years, our largest source of overseas students and, increasingly, our largest source of tourists.

On this anniversary we acknowledge the strong friendship between Australia and China, and we pay tribute to the significant contribution the Chinese-Australian community makes to our nation.

I wish everybody an enjoyable 65th anniversary celebration of the People’s Republic of China.

The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia.

If I may just add a few quick reflections. This special dinner commemorates a significant milestone for one of the most important nations in the world.

The year 2014 is a highly auspicious one for Chinese people. It also marks the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Conference and the 110th anniversary of the birth of Deng Xiaoping who is regarded as China’s architect of reform.

Australia has a great connection with the People’s Republic of China. Our bilateral relationship continues to grow and is based on trade valued at more than $150 billion in 2013.

Australia values the growing maturity of our ties and the way we cooperate across a widening range of regional and global issues.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to China in April was a resounding success and one which will advance the interests of both of our nations across the breadth of our relationship.

It also set the tone for further constructive and forward-thinking work to further link our two countries.

The size of the Prime Minister’s delegation, which was the largest to ever leave Australia and the impact of the Australia Week in China events, captured attention in both China and Australia.

The Government is also looking forward to President Xi’s visit to Australia in November for the G20. His visit will provide an excellent opportunity to enhance our already strong existing cooperation.

Our resources trade has been a focus of the relationship between the two countries for a long time. I know that China values Australia as a competitive, reliable supplier and has relied on Australian resources to underpin its economic development and I am confident that this mutually beneficial relationship will continue to strengthen and grow.

I am sure that in the coming decades the contribution made by Chinese Australians will continue to benefit our society culturally, socially and economically.

Finally, on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Australian Government, I thank the Australian Council of Chinese Organisations for your kind invitation to join you here this evening. I congratulate the People’s Republic of China on this important anniversary.

I am honoured to be with you this evening. Thank you.