Indo-Pacific 2023 Admiral's Reception

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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6 November 2023

Thank you Uncle Shane for your Welcome to Country, and I too acknowledge the Gadigal people of Eora Nation and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

As the Assistant Minister for Defence, I also pay my respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have served our nation in the past and continue to do so today.

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore,

My Parliamentary Colleagues, the Honourable Andrew Hastie and the Honourable Luke Howarth,

The Deputy Premier of South Australia, the Honourable Susan Close,

Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond,

Senior Leaders of the Australian Defence Force,

Our honoured guests from overseas,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Australian Government, I extend a very warm welcome to the naval leaders from our partner nations.

Australia places immense value on our international naval partnerships, and we thank you very much for making the journey to Sydney to join us for Indo-Pacific 2023.

Tonight is an opportunity to strengthen these relationships, and I thank our host, the Chief of Navy, for inviting us to gather together on the eve of the Sea Power Conference.

The theme for this year’s Conference is “Fleet 2035: Sea Power and the Future of Maritime Warfare”.

As the Australian anthem proclaims, we are a nation girt by sea, and the topic of sea power and maritime warfare is of immense strategic importance to Australia.

Our region is defined by the confluence of two great oceans, the Indian and the Pacific.

Australians are conscious our maritime region is being reshaped, and our strategic environment is becoming more challenging.

We recognise that we must be able to contribute with our partners to the collective security of the Indo-Pacific and the maintenance of the global and regional rules-based order .

This is at the heart of our Government’s response to the Defence Strategic Review.

It involves investing in new capabilities, including through our AUKUS partnership, as a prudent and necessary contribution to a sustainable and inclusive balance of power that deters conflict but also reassures states that they never need to resort to force.

Over the course of the Conference, you will hear more about our plans to strengthen the fleet of ships, submarines and aircraft that are the physical expression of our Navy, and how we are building a more integrated Australian Defence Force.

And on the Expo floor, you will see tremendous examples of the innovation and ingenuity in our dynamic defence industry.

But our greatest strength, and the one that sets the Royal Australian Navy apart from its peers, is the strength of its people.

The quality of their training and the professionalism of their service…

their commitment to their country and their colleagues…

and their wholehearted embrace of the future is the greatest asset of the Royal Australian Navy and the one that is showcased at Indo-Pacific 2023.

As the Assistant Minister for Defence it is my honour to stand alongside the Chief of Navy and welcome you all to this Reception.

And as the Member for Kingsford Smith in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our Harbour City.

Whether your journey here has been long or short, I hope you find Indo-Pacific 2023 to be thought-provoking and engaging, and I hope you enjoy this evening.

Thank you.


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