The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has congratulated Barack Obama on his election as the 44th President of the United States, praising his “campaign .. about hope”.
Rudd spoke at a Community Cabinet meeting in Tasmania.
- Listen to Rudd (79s)
Transcript of Kevin Rudd’s press conference.
The great democracy that is the United States of America has once again demonstrated to the world the greatness of the democratic idea at work.
45 Years ago Martin Luther King dreamed of an America where men and women will be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character.
Today what America has done is turn that dream into a reality.
This is a great testament to the great strengths and maturity of the American democratic process.
Senator Obama’s historic win in this election has inspired a nation through his message of hope.
Senator Obama’s message of hope is not just for America’s future, it is also a message of hope for the world as well. A world which is now in many respects fearful for its future.
The world looks to America for global leadership on the great global challenges of the 21st Century: the global financial crisis, the challenge of climate change, the great challenges and opportunities of the Asia Pacific century – that is the 21st Century – and the continuing challenges of security.
Australia has been a strong and continuing ally of the United States since 1941. Our alliance has prospered in the past under 13 Australian Prime Ministers and under 12 American Presidents, Republican and Democrat, Labor and Liberal.
Our alliance has truly prospered in the past and this alliance will prosper into the future.
Australia looks forward to working in the closest possible way, in the closest possible partnership with an Obama Administration, acting together to deal with the great common global challenges we face as democracies.
I also want to acknowledge the role of Senator McCain, a strong friend of Australia and a strong advocate in the fight against climate change.
In the months ahead Australia looks forward to continuing to work closely with President Bush and his administration on the many immediate challenges we share.
Above all on tackling the global financial crisis where the President’s continuing leadership remains so important.
I would also congratulate US Ambassador McCallum on his service to the Australia-US relationship, noting Ambassador McCallum’s decision to resign from his position as he announced today.
The world has relied on strong American leadership for much of the century that has passed. Given the great challenges we face for the future, the world even more relies on strong American leadership into the future.
Australia looks forward to working closely, in close partnership and in close friendship with an America under this new Obama Administration.
I’ll take your questions.
(Inaudible) Meet with President Elect Obama (Inaudible)
Well first things first. There is one President of the United States through until the inauguration of the next administration which occurs in January. Therefore, I think it would be unrealistic to expect that the 20 heads of Government when they are in Washington for the upcoming meeting would separately meet with President elect Obama.
In the meantime I look forward to the opportunity of speaking with Senator Obama on the phone.
(Inaudible) Phone Call to President Elect Obama (Inaudible)
Yes we will be doing that ASAP now that Senator McCain has conceded and Senator Obama has given an extraordinary speech.
Well these are early days for an administration that is not fully formed. America has a great challenge on its hands both in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an ally of the United States we will continue to work closely with our American friends and allies to deal with these challenges ahead.
These will be difficult challenges, I fully concede in both of those countries, but we will work closely with Washington on these in the future as we have in the past.
Senator Obama is a good man and he has delivered to the world and to his country a very good message of hope. And this is a message of hope over fear and as I said before the world at present is in part fearful for its future.
Hence why I say Senator Obama’s message of hope is not just for America, it’s for the world.
This is, I believe, a great day for the American democracy. And let us celebrate this day with our friends in America.
How the Liberals commented on the prospect of an Obama win is a matter for the Liberals now to explain to the Australian people and to make proper account of to the Australian people.
(inaudible) US Administration is between election day and inauguration day is a period in which Cabinet Secretaries are selected and then there is a period of confirmation before the Senate. This will take some time.
But fortunately I’ve had the chance of having two good conversations with Senator Obama so far. As I said before, I believe him to be a good man. A good man who also has the interests of the world at heart.
And therefore, we will be looking for early opportunities to not just congratulate him on what is an extraordinary personal triumph for himself, but also to begin to flesh out the work we wish to do as two democratically elected governments for the future. And I’m confident we can do so.
This is the text of a statement from Kevin Rudd
Democracy is at work here today, it has been at work in the United States of America as well.
If I could publically acknowledge and congratulate the election of Senator Obama as the next President of the United States.
The great thing about Senator Obama was so much of his campaign was about hope.
It was about what we can do to change the world, what we can do together to tackle the great challenges the world faces together, the great global challenge of climate change. What we can do as a community of States, as a collection of peoples, as a organisation of States to act together on this great challenge.
And also the other great challenges of our age, including the global financial crisis.
But there is something more I think in Senator Obama’s message.
It’s so much about the inspiration from this individual himself and that is: this is a person who has come from an extraordinary background in American politics and risen to the highest elected office in that great American democracy.
I think he speaks as an inspiration in terms of his own personal journey in addition to his message of hope to the world.
We wish him well, we wish him god speed.
This is a great challenge he faces for us all.