SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON PJ KEATING, MP LUNCHEON THE HIS EXCELLENCY DR VON WEIZSAECRER, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, 6 SEPTEMBER 1993
Prime Minister - Keating, Paul
Speech - 06 September 1993
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE RON P. J. KEATING, UP
LUNCHEON IN HONOUR THE HIS EXC ELL ENCY DR VON WEIZSAECKER,
PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY,
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA, 6 SEPTEMBER 1993
On behalf of the Government and people of Australia, I
extend to you and your party the warmest welcome to
Australia. Might I say that as one who rarely goes through a day
indeed would f ind it dif ficult to ge~ through a day
without listening to Beethoven or Brahms or Richard
Strauss, I am in almost constant touch with your
homeland. But, of course, Australia's links w ith your country go
well beyond the legacy of music which Germany has left
Nearly a quarter of a million Australians have German
ancestry and their contribution to our industry and
culture has been profound.
To take the most obvious and tangible example, the wine
before you is purely Australian, but the Australian wine
industry was fundamentally the creation of German
settlers in the nineteenth century.
German emigrants were there on the frontiers of
Australia's development almost from the beginning in
exploration, in agriculture, industry and intellectual
life; and in the post war period they have continued to
play a prominent role in building modern multicultural
Australia. The bonds of friendship between us are made so much
stronger because these historical and cultural links are
Mr President, let me say that your reputation precedes
As we Australians consider the future of our own
constitutional arrangements, it is of more than casual
interest to us to observe how effectively you have used
the office of head of state to promote an enlightened
view of Germany's international role in the changed
circumstances your country is now experiencing.
And, Mr President, we regard with great admiration your
appeals for tolerance and civility in addressing new
social challenges in the reunified Germany.
Through you we extend our greetings to 80 million Germans
re-united in freedom after four decades of division.
in doing so we know we greet a friend, a partner, a
people with whom we have more than a little in conmmon and
who face challenges similar to our own.
As we approach the end of the twentieth century we are
both confronted with a world of increasing complexity and
dynamic, gometimes bewildering, change.
The hopes engendered by the sudden end to the Cold War
have been dashed in many cases the post Cold War era
sometimes seems bleaker than we ever could have imagined.
Developments in Central and Eastern Europe and the former
Soviet Union have necessarily been a major preoccupation
of the German government, and Germany has done a great
deal to assist cotntrieg in these regions towards
democracy and economic efficiency.
In Australia we admire Germany's constructive engagement
in these problems.
In this fluid post Cold War environment Australia has
also focussed its attention on regional dialogue and an
emerging sense of regional common interest and identity.
We have promoted the establishment of the APEC process
which builds on the growing linkages and immense dynamism
of the Asia-Pacific economies.
With a world economy struggling to emerge from recession,
we desperately need the contribution that a fair and open
multilateral trading system can make to sustained global
Germany is in a powerful position to advance the cause of
such a system. Your country's influence in Europe is
crucial to a successful outcome of the Uruguay Round.
You will be aware that, particularly through the Cairns
Group, Australia has done all it can to bring the Round
to a positive conclusion.
Mr President, for many years Germany has played a
constructive role in disarmament and non-proliforation,
on the environment, and on international development.
we value your willingness to help keep the international
peace; including in Cambodia, which for nearly 20 years
stood out as the focal point of suffering and instability
in South-East Asia, rather as Yugoslavia tragically does
today in South-East Europe.
We know that the development of a more engaged
international role for Germany is no easy task. We know
it is complicated by frequently conflicting expectations
abroad. It must be disconcerting to be at once
criticised for exercising too much power and too little.
For our part, we regard the Federal Republic as a good
international citizen and we welcome your commitment to
assuming all the responsibilities associated with being a
member of the UN and a major player within the
We also welcome the fact, Mr President, that Germany
continues to look beyond Europe. We are pleased that the
German government and business community are seeking to
cooperate with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
Your visit underlines this interest.
Just as we see scope for enhanced direct business
cooperation between Australia and Germany, so we will be
seeking opportunities for joint ventures in the region.
The presence of senior Germany business representatives
at a major trade and investment conference in Melbourne
in November we hope will lead to practical developments
of this kind.
Mr President, far from diminishing our ties with Europe,
we believe that Australia's increasingly strong links
with Asia will make us a more attractive partner for
European business, politics and culture.
We do not forget our long-standing links with you; nor do
we fail to recognise the opportunities which exist for us
in both the mature markets of Western Europe and the
evolving markets in Eastern Europe.
Germany is a perfect example of a valued European trading
partner both an important market and an important
source of investment.
In 1992 Germany was Australia's eighth-largest trading
partner with total two-way trade of $ 4.3 billion; and
there is $ 6.4 billion in German capital stock invested
Although we will remain a competitive and reliable
supplier of raw materials to German industry, we also
have, I believe, much to offer as a partner in
manufacturing and there is perhaps no better example of
this than the construction of the ANZAC ships which I
understand you saw last week at Williamstown in Victoria.
New areas for cooperation are emerging.
Our two countries recently signed a memorandum of
understanding on environmental cooperation. Australian
firms are engaged in restoring the environment of the new
Eastern states of Germany.
Australia is to be the partner country at the 1995 Cebit
Information Technology Fair in Hanover.
In the same year, the Australia Abroad Council is
planning to hold a major promotion in Germany, the focus
of which is likely to be Art and New Technologies.
And we have big plans to convert more and more Germans to
the pleasures of drinking Australian wine and eating
Despite our differing regional focus, our relationship is
strong and full of potential. Certainly the prospects
are extremely bright f or our companies to work together
with yours in our nearby markets, whether they be in the
Asia-Pacific or in Eastern Europe, Russia and other parts
of the former Soviet Union.
Kr President, of course our success in the future will
depend in a large part on the extent and the quality of
the contact between our two peoples. If we bring to our
relationship some of the spirit and imagination, the
energy and ideas which the early German settlers brought
to Australia, we are very likely to succeed.
The legendary German explorer, Ludwig Leichhardt, wrote
back to Germany in 1842:
Few come here to stay. But many change their minds
when they have come to discern the attractions of
this rich country, and to find its disadvantages
less irksome. Families of this kind he said who
are taking an interest in the colony, and who have
come to look upon it as their own country,
constitute, in fact, its only real wealth. And it
is through them that a powerful state will gradually
arise, a state which may possibly consign old Europe
One does not have to believe the last part to see the
truth in the first. For it is true that Australia's
success is built on the faith of those who, abandoning
the old world, made this new world country unequivocally
T 0 Ob I T T f(' T !-A
And it is also true, Mr President, that 19th century
settlers and late 20th century tourists and business
people alike, have come to Australia and found that the
attractions far out-weighed the disadvantages.
We hope there will be many more such people, Mr
President, and that you will in future, number yourself
among them. That you will leave Australia assured of the
friendship and good-will which exists between us. And
that you will come again.
I now invite the Leader of the Opposition to join me in
welcoming the President.