Your Excellency [High Commissioner Jenny Cartmill]
It is a pleasure to be amongst you and to celebrate Australia Day together. High Commissioner, you have just reminded us that the Australian High Commission opened its doors in Malta 55 years ago. Yet our relationship goes beyond those years.
We do share a common history which we celebrate and commemorate together every year. ANZAC Day is possibly the most notable of them. Malta will not forget the role the ANZACs played during the Gallipoli Campaign. As we all know, Malta too was active both on the ground, with its own soldiers and at home, serving yet again, as a hospital and as refuge to all those wounded in battle.
Aside from the diplomatic and political ties, our relationship stems right from the grassroots. Our people. For many Maltese, over the course of over a century, Australia proved to be a second home. A significantly bigger island where they could thrive and prosper.
It instils within us a sense of pride whenever we learn of individuals of Maltese origin that hold key positions and actively contribute to the prosperity of your country. As Your Excellency informed, it is also endearing that the Maltese language is being used with relation to assistance on the Covid-19 situation. We are grateful for the support that the Australian Government is providing in this regard, especially to those more advanced in age amongst the Maltese Community.
The Covid-19 pandemic has proved time and time again the importance of global solidarity. All countries have the right and the obligation to contribute to a post pandemic scenario. We are not out of the woods yet. We need to proactively implement lasting solutions, not only to curtail the virus, but also to address other impending global issues that we cannot afford not to tackle anymore.
Ensuring the access to vaccinations to all is a good start to end the spread and the mortality that the Covid-19 virus brought along with it. But then again, tackling the root causes of climate change and all its direct and indirect effects, limiting the access to small arms and light weapons, ensuring gender equality, adequate access to healthcare and clean water amongst many others, will not only end inequalities around the world, but will also ensure a better future for everyone.
Security, sustainability and solidarity are Malta’s agenda should it be entrusted with a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council later on this year. The Global Community has already identified seventeen themes which need to be addressed in this regard. The Sustainable Development Goals need to be fulfilled. 2030 is only eight years away and our environment and our peoples cannot afford to wait any longer.
By no means this is an easy feat. This is why we need to come together with countries like Australia, including in association with the Commonwealth and together with the European Union, to ensure that no one region, country or people are left behind.
As an EU Member State, we fully subscribe to healthy and fruitful economic and trade relations between the European Union and Australia. We are happy with the development of the EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement and look forward to lots of benefits to the region as the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy unfolds and develops.
Dear High Commissioner,
The relationship between Malta and Australia keeps growing from strength-to-strength every year thanks to the close contact that exist at the political and technical levels.
It was my intention to visit Australia in 2020, however plans had to change due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic. I do hope, as all of us here, that travelling between our two countries will be eased again with the possibility of the visit coming to fruition soon after.
I now invite you all Distinguished Guests, to toast to Australia Day and to the special friendship that binds the People of Malta and Australia.