Celebrating 75 Years of U.S. Friendship with Australia

Posted by Matt J. Matthews
October 16, 2015
Secretaries Kerry, Carter shake hands with their Australian Counterparts, Ministers Bishop and Payne, before the Annual AUSMIN Meetings in Boston, MA

Earlier this week, Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley hosted a reception to celebrate 75 years of friendship between Australia and the United States.  A list of Washington’s most influential thinkers and foreign policy practitioners joined Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defense Minister Marise Payne.  It was a tremendous night, and a testament to the longevity and enduring strength of the U.S.-Australia relationship.

Our partnership was forged during World War II.  In the 1950s, a formal U.S.-Australia alliance was born.  It was based on common democratic principles, and it has served as a foundation of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for nearly seven decades. 

Thirty years ago, we decided to come together once a year at our highest levels to discuss our cooperation.  The Australia-U.S. Ministerial consultations, known as AUSMIN, took place this year in the hometown of Secretary Kerry, Boston, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, October 13, 2015.  Secretary Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and their Australian counterparts discussed our collaboration on a range of important issues, from reducing tensions in the South China Sea through adherence to international rules and standards, to countering ISIL, to how we can strengthen and expand our security partnership in the coming years.

Australia's Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Beazley, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, Minister for Defense Marise Payne, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a reception celebrating the 75th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations [Embassy of Australia Photo]

Just as the United States and Australia work together in pursuit of peace and stability, we are also partners in the effort to improve economic conditions around the world.  Last week – after five years of intense negotiations – the United States, Australia and ten other like-minded Pacific countries agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP includes the most comprehensive enforceable commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history and will link together 40 percent of the world’s economy.  This landmark agreement is a critical step forward in strengthening our economic ties and deepening our strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.  We are working tirelessly, alongside our Australian partners, to ensure TPP will be rules-based and enduring, and its high standard will support our economic interests, while protecting the rights of workers and the environment.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reviews his remarks in a room at the Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 13, 2015, as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Danny Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Puneet Talwar, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Matthew Matthews look on before the annual AUSMIN diplomatic and defense meetings [State Department Photo]

Relations between two nations as close as ours are not defined solely by defense and trade agreements.  Our deep and enduring partnership is much broader.  During this most recent AUSMIN, we discussed the importance of the sustainable management of the ocean and fisheries, and agreed to continue efforts to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

We are also working toward an ambitious and durable agreement at the UN climate change talks in Paris, in December, that put the world on the path to low-carbon, climate-resilient development.  And our cooperation with Australia will strengthen our work on cutting edge issues, such as of energy, science, technology, space, health, and climate change.  

As we continue to work together on a range of pressing global challenges, we know that we can always count on the steadfast support of the people of Australia, just as the people of Australia can count on us.

Australia and the United States have an unwavering friendship, founded on our common efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and democratic values around the world.

About the Author: Matt J. Matthews serves as  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Senior Official for APEC in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs

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