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State Lunch in honour of His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei, Government House

(The Governor-General delivered his speech in Malay)

Your Majesty, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to Australia, and I am delighted that your son His Royal Highness Prince Mateen has been able to join you on this visit.

Your presence here today demonstrates the strength of the friendship between our two countries and the importance we both place on our bilateral relationship.

That relationship is founded on mutual respect and connection between our people.

I would also note, though, that when you visit Darwin in a few days you will be closer to Brunei than to Canberra.

We share a commitment to regional institutions, including our strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture.

I acknowledge and thank Your Majesty for the vital role you played in advocating for the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during Brunei’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021.

Our nations also share a commitment to an ‘open and rules-based trade’, particularly within our region, and I am delighted that Australia was Brunei’s largest trading partner last year.

Ours is a friendship with a long history, going back to the Second World War when Australian soldiers landed on Muara beach. Many more lives would have been lost without the help of the local people — an early example of the people of Brunei and Australia working together in support of peace in our region. 

Today we continue to work together to address shared challenges, from climate change to food security, mental health and regional stability.

I am delighted that later today you and Prime Minister Albanese will sign the Joint Declaration to formally elevate our ties to a Comprehensive Partnership — a major milestone in our relationship.

Concrete actions such as this Partnership and your visit here this week will ensure that our relationship continues to strengthen over the years to come.

On behalf of the Australian people, Linda and I wish you every success for your visit. Thank you.