Transcript, Statement to House of Parliament, E&OE
30 November 2009
Australia to host 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
I would like to make a brief statement in respect of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011.
As members may have been aware, last week the Prime Minister and I attended the 60th anniversary meeting of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers and, more importantly, of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.
I am pleased to advise the House that CHOGM in the Port of Spain resolved that Australia will host the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This is a welcome decision.
Australia, of course, has previously hosted CHOGM, in Melbourne in 1981 and in Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in 2002.
Australia has also of course hosted the Commonwealth Games, in Melbourne in 2006, in Brisbane in 1982 and, importantly, in Perth—then the Commonwealth and Empire games—in 1962.
So I am very pleased to advise the House that the host city for the 2011 CHOGM will be Perth. I am very pleased to indicate that to the House.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government resolved that Australia would host in 2011, Sri Lanka would host in 2013 and Mauritius would host in 2015.
This does draw important attention to the fact that Australia, from Perth, is an Indian Ocean rim country and Perth is an Indian Ocean rim capital, and the focus of the next three Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings will include the Indian Ocean, south Asia and Africa—Mauritius being both an African Union country and in the Indian Ocean.
Perth is very appropriate to the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2011. It is now an international city, one of Australia's fastest growing cities, and it is expanding its great links to Asia but also looking west to India and to Africa.
Perth being chosen by the Government as the host city for the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting reflects the fact that the Government is giving great priority to its engagement not only with Africa but also with India and south Asia. So I am very pleased to announce that today.
I also indicate that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting has also decided that Australia will join the current Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).
Current CMAG members are Ghana, Namibia and New Zealand, and new members include Australia, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Maldives, Trinidad and Tobago as the Chair and Office, and Vanuatu. CMAG is the ministerial institution which manages Commonwealth affairs on a regular and ongoing administrative basis.
So that is very good news for Australia and it is very good news for Perth and Western Australia.
Over the last 24 hours I took the opportunity of speaking to the Lord Mayor of Perth and before I left for CHOGM, when this prospect was raised, I had a good conversation with the Premier of Western Australia, Mr Barnett, who, it would come as no surprise, welcomes the decision as much as I do.
Indeed, one of my colleagues said to me earlier this morning, ‘You can take the Foreign Minister out of Perth, but you can't take Perth out of the Foreign Minister.'
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