Press "Enter" to skip to content

Remember Who Dug The Well: Crean Welcomes Hu

This is the text of the address of welcome to the President of China, Hu Jintao, by the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean.

The speech was delivered to a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Text of Simon Crean’s speech of welcome to China’s President Hu Jintao.

CreanMr President.

I’ve already had the opportunity to welcome you to Australia.

I now welcome you to our national Parliament.

Your historic presence in this Parliament – so soon after your inauguration as President of the People’s Republic of China – testifies to the importance and continuity of the China-Australia relationship.

This occasion is, indeed, a celebration of continuity.

On his visit to Australia four years ago, your predecessor, President Jiang Zemin, paid tribute to the pioneers of the relationship between our two great peoples.

President Jiang said then:

There is an old Chinese saying: when you go to the well to draw water, remember who dug the well.

So it is with great pride that I note the distinguished presence in this chamber of one of those well-diggers – former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.

Australians remember:

  • His groundbreaking trip to Beijing as Leader of the Opposition in July 1971.
  • The establishment of full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic in December 1972.
  • And the first visit to China by an Australian Prime Minister thirty years ago this month.

In this context, we look forward to the further development of the new Trade Framework Agreement signed today.

We were delighted with the $25 billion liquid natural gas deal signed last year, and the prospect of more cooperation on energy security between Australia and China.

These achievements are further examples of thirty years of hard work developing relations between our two countries begun by Prime Minister Whitlam and sustained by his successors.

Continuing that legacy is a priority for Australia and for me.

On this historic occasion, we also remember the indispensable condition on which we established this relationship – our commitment to One China.

My father – another of the well-diggers – accompanied Gough Whitlam as his Treasurer on that famous first Prime Ministerial visit to China in 1973.

He had the opportunity to meet with Premier Chou En-Lai – the man who brought about the historic détente in China’s foreign policy with the West.

My father described Premier Chou as “a man of natural dignity and obvious strength of character…..a man of reason and cultivation”.

Mr President, those are the qualities of leadership that we must emulate as we work together to make our region economically stronger, free from the threat of terrorism, and committed to the principles of international law and human rights.

Together we face some critical security issues.

Among them is the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

We see a crucial role for China in progressing initiatives to ensure that North Korea turns away from this destructive path.

Mr President, on behalf of the parliament and the Australian people let me also congratulate China for its recent success in manned space flight.

The world has marvelled at China’s recent economic development, but this stunning achievement shows your nation’s technological advance as well.

It symbolises the sense of purpose driving China and its leadership today, the greatness of your people, and their contribution to world civilisation.

As China seeks to fulfil its destiny as a Leader in regional and international cooperation, no country is better placed to assist it and encourage it than Australia.

This is something on which there is bi-partisan agreement.

That is why my first overseas visit as Opposition Leader was to your country.

I’m delighted that our relationship is gaining new strength and I want to turn it to our mutual advantage.

Mr President, we are old friends, but there are unlimited opportunities for new partnerships.

It is in the spirit of goodwill, the purpose of peace and friendship and the determination to be partners in the development of our region, that I join the Prime Minister in the warmest of welcomes to this Parliament of the people of Australia.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Malcolm Farnsworth
© 1995-2024