Joint Media Event with His Excellency Mr Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, Belvedere Palace, Warsaw
My wife, Linda, and I are delighted to be in Warsaw on what is the first-ever official visit to the Republic of Poland by an Australian Governor-General.
I want to thank President Duda for his kind invitation to visit Poland. It was good to catch up with him again. We first met in Sydney in 2018 when I was Governor of New South Wales. Linda and I had the pleasure of hosting the President and the First Lady during their official visit to Australia.
Today, the President and I are jointly marking the 50th anniversary of full diplomatic relations between our countries. The relationship between Australia and Poland goes back to the early days of the European settlement of Australia.
We have many shared points in our respective histories.
Australia’s highest mountain is Mount Kosciuszko, named by your great explorer Pawel Strzelecki. Waves of Polish migrants came to Australia post-World War 2, including Polish survivors of the Holocaust and those fleeing martial law. Today, close to 210,000 people in Australia are of Polish heritage.
Our ties have never been closer. Our countries work closely together on the world stage and we share a common fundamental commitment to democratic principles and the rules-based international order.
During the pandemic, many Australian lives were saved by the vaccines that Poland made available to Australia when we needed them.
We have very strong Defence links and were allies during World War 2. Australian and Polish soldiers fought side-by-side in the Siege of Tobruk, and in other battles.
Today, on the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, I recall with pride the Australian aircrew who flew to help resupply the heroes of the Home Army fighting in this city. Some of these Australians lie buried in Poland. I was pleased to lay a wreath this morning to honour the Polish fallen.
Since 24 February this year, Australians have watched with admiration the extraordinary generosity of the Polish people as they have opened their homes to millions of Ukrainians fleeing the terrible and illegal Russian attacks on their country.
Australia is making a significant contribution to help the government and people of Ukraine. We thank Poland for their cooperation in providing that support, and also the help that Polish authorities gave to Australian citizens who were also forced to flee the war.
Linda and I met earlier with the Marshals of the Sejm and Senate. We are also looking forward to meeting some of the Australian community in Poland, seeing some of the work our Defence personnel are doing and paying respects on behalf of the Australian people at Auschwitz.
As we mark the 50th anniversary of our full diplomatic relations, we celebrate our great and enduring friendship, and look forward to building even stronger ties.