Historic address by PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, in Australian Parliament

PNG Prime Minister James Marape made history today 8 February 2024 becoming the first Pacific leader to address the Australian Parliament.

An outstanding, comprehensive, powerful and humble speech that made any Australian/PNG person very proud.

Mr Marape spoke after excellent speeches by Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton – all speeches highlighted our joint history, past, present and looking to the future, articulated succinctly and sensibly.

Prime Minister Marape began his speech reflecting on a leader from the Highlands of PNG, where James Marape also comes from, who visited Australia in the 1950s – Kondon Agaundo.

Marape continued, and the following is an excerpt from his speech in the Australian Parliament:

He made a speech in his own mother tongue as he knew no English. He made a statement that was both sentimental and historic.
Today I come to you and speak to you in my language and you laugh at me.
One day my son will come to you and speak in your language and you will certainly listen.
Today, as I stand before you in your wonderful house, this prophecy has been fulfilled.
I speak to you in the language you taught me.
I hear every word that Prime Minister Albanese and the Opposition Leader [has said] and I hear every word that Australia has been speaking to us since 1901 when you became your own sovereignty and your adoption of us into your family in 1906.
As the prophecy of the fathers of my nation comes to pass today, I come to you as their son, the son of Papua New Guinea. I don’t come as James Marape. I speak as the Chief 7th of the people of the most diverse nation on the face of planet Earth.
We have many tribes, many languages, but one nation.
I am very deeply honoured to have been accorded this rare privilege, being the first Prime Minister of my country to address the Australian Parliament.
It is a high privilege I do not take for granted, and my people and myself will treasure this moment as a moment of honour for Papua New Guinea and more importantly the Papua New Guinea/Australian relationship.

Mr Marape’s speech can be heard in full at https://www.skynews.com.au/world-news/global-affairs/png-prime-minister-james-marape-makes-historic-first-address-to-australian-parliament/video/9e5291ddc7221949ab63cb72ef37bd6d?fbclid=IwAR073C2_MvvT7tKZ_K91ymLDFyh3OuSV9gYuBgOxCjI8ncGeR2IdBBabrNQ

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s address can be read at: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/welcome-prime-minister-marape

PNGAA will upload a link to the Opposition Leader’s address as soon as it is available.

3 Responses

  1. James Marape is an astute politician.

    His speech was carefully crafted from a range of well-worn clichés designed to particularly appeal to sycophants, DFAT types and the Labor government.

    It is a time honoured practise in PNG to tell people from whom you want something exactly what they want to hear. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the Kondon Agaundo yarn or the lionising of Gough Whitlam trotted out by PNG politicians in the presence of Australian VIPs.

    The smile on Mr Marape’s face seems to show he knew exactly what he was doing.

    And it all worked wondefully judging by the response from the Australian parliament and media.

  2. andrea says:

    One other thought too Phil – generations have changed and, whilst some have heard, newer gens have not. As we head in to the future, it provides some great background points.

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