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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Julia Gillard Addresses American Congress

Only Bob Hawke and John Howard have been offered the opportunity to address a joint sitting of Congress - Robert Menzies addressed the lower house in 1955 - so it was a memorable day for Julia Gillard.

And what a speech it was, it went down a treat even though it could be described as a bit gushing in parts. "In both our countries, real mates talk straight," she said. "We mean what we say - you have an ally in Australia - an ally for war and peace - an ally for hardship and prosperity, an ally for the 60 years past and Australia is an ally for all the years to come." I think this brought a tear to the eye of some in the audience. She said Australia had not forgotten that the US helped defeat the Japanese in World War II.

She went on "I have told Australia's parliament in Canberra . . . what I told General Petraeus in Kabul . . . what I told President Obama in the Oval Office this week," she said "Australia will stand firm with our ally the United States. Our friends understand this and our enemies understand this too."

She noted that political power was shifting towards China and India, and urged the Americans to "call on the same courage that saw them provide leadership during the Cold War and to apply it to the emerging new world order." The US leadership could rely on its allies in Asia -- Australia in the south and Japan and South Korea in the north to ensure the whole region, including China, can share prosperity and economic growth.

She finished with "I firmly believe you are the same people who amazed me when I was a small girl by landing on the moon," and then "On that great day, I believed Americans could do anything and I believe that still. You can do anything today."