Joint media release
- Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women
- The Hon. Alex Hawke MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Australia joins the people of the Republic of Vanuatu in celebrating their country’s milestone of 40 years of independence.
Australia and Vanuatu share a close and long-standing relationship founded on history, common values and a shared home in the Pacific. This relationship continues to strengthen under the Pacific Step-Up.
While COVID-19 restrictions prevent us from attending celebrations in Vanuatu today, we are proud to join our ni-Vanuatu family and friends in spirit to mark this anniversary.
As a gift, the Morrison Government is contributing to the establishment of a new Halls of Justice building for Vanuatu. This nationally significant building will be built in partnership with the Governments of Vanuatu and New Zealand, and reflects our collective, longstanding commitment to justice and social cohesion.
Australia will also donate a painting by respected Aboriginal-Australian South Sea Islander artist Aunty Shireen Malamoo, to be hung in the new Halls of Justice. Aunty Shireen’s grandfather was of ni-Vanuatu heritage.
In 1980, Australia supported Vanuatu’s move to become an independent nation, including advocating in the United Nations and being among the first in the world to recognise the nation’s sovereignty.
The Australian Defence Force sent HMAS Yarra to participate in the first independence celebrations and carried Father Walter Lini – the first Prime Minister of Vanuatu – from Port Vila to his home village in northern Pentecost.
On the invitation of the Vanuatu Government, Australia will once again contribute Australian Defence Force assets, including HMAS Choules, HMAS Huon and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft to participate in this year’s Ruby jubilee.