Friday, 23 March 2012

Transcript - Greenslopes Shopping Mall

The Hon. Kevin Rudd MPIt’s great to be out here with good friend Cameron Dick. In what’s a very important state election. Let me cut straight to the bottom line. Queenslanders are poised to vote in the Liberal National Party in the biggest landslide this state has seen in its history. The problem is this, if that happens, then the opposition, the Labor opposition will be virtually wiped out. Queensland as a one party state is no good for anybody. I remember the 1980’s. It’s no good for anybody. So what I’m saying is very simple, very loud, very clear, is that we must ensure that the LNP is held to account by an effective opposition which means making sure that strong local members like Cameron Dick, like Andrew Fraser, like Di Farmer are elected on Saturday to  hold the LNP to account. A one party state in Queensland is no good for democracy, you need a strong opposition to hold them to account. We need Cameron Dick, Andrew Fraser people like that able to lead the opposition into the future and Di Farmer to hold this LNP Government to account. That’s the bottom line here. I don’t think that it’s in anybody’s interests for Queensland to end up as a one party state.

If I look at the polls today it means that people like Cameron Dick would be wiped out. It means that people like Andrew Fraser would be wiped out. People like Di Farmer would be wiped out. That’s no good for democracy; we need an effective strong opposition to hold an LNP government to account. A one party state is no good for anybody. That’s why I’m appealing for support for Cameron Dick, to be a strong voice in a future opposition against an LNP government to hold them to account, for Andrew Fraser to hold that LNP government to account, for Di Farmer and strong local members like her.

Journalist: You refer to the future opposition; does that mean that there is no hope in the election tomorrow?

Kevin Rudd: You know something? I’m a political realist. I’ve been around for a while. Let’s just call a spade a spade. All the polls indicate that the LNP will end up with the biggest majority in Queensland political history. Virtually a one party state. That means we need an effective opposition to hold them to account and my direct appeal is you don’t want a one party state, you want an effective opposition to hold the LNP to account so that they don’t end up with a blank cheque. You’ve got to support Cameron Dick, you’ve got to support people like Andrew Fraser, you’ve got to support people like Di Farmer – strong local members.

Journalist: What do you think the impact of this loss will have on Federal Labor?

Kevin Rudd: I’m not here to talk about implications other than for Queensland itself. I’m a proud Queenslander. I was around in the 1980’s. I remember what a one party state was like in the 1980’s under the National Party in those days. No Queenslander wants to see a return to those days. That’s why it’s critical that we return strong local members like Cameron Dick, like Andrew Fraser, like Di Farmer, and other strong local members to be the leaders of the future and to hold this LNP government to account. I don’t think any Queenslander wants an LNP government as a virtual one party state with a total blank cheque to do whatever they want. You need to support strong people for the future and that means people like Cameron Dick, Andrew Fraser, Di Farmer and other strong local members.

Journalist: It’s certainly not good to see this many people turning against Labor, on a state level, for the Federal (inaudible)?

Kevin Rudd: Well for Queensland and I’m a passionate Queenslander. I mean, I was here working for Wayne Goss when we got rid of a virtual one party state under the National Party against a corrupt electoral system, 20 or so years ago. Nobody wants a return to a virtual one party state. So my appeal to Queenslanders is I know people are strongly driven in a particular voting direction. I understand what the polls are saying but I am also saying don’t give the Liberal and National Party a total blank cheque. We need strong local members like this bloke who I have known for a long time.  He’s one of the future hopes for the side. Andrew Fraser one of the future hopes of the side. Di Farmer, other strong local members, future hopes of the side. We need them in Parliament to hold this LNP government, ultimately run by Clive Palmer, to account.

The Hon. Cameron Dick MP: Can I just say too. The message that I’m getting very strongly on the ground in Greenslopes is that they want someone to hold a Newman government to account and to hold a Newman government to their promises. And that’s a very strong message that I’m receiving locally. Good government is made by effective opposition and I believe I’ve got the skills to not only be a voice for this community, this community where I grew up, where I went to school, a community that I’m very passionate about, and committed to because of those personal things. Not only does this community need a strong voice. It needs men and women of skill and ability to hold a new government to account. To hold that government to its promises. I believe that I’ve got the skills and the ability and the talent and the strength to ensure that we have a good government for all Queensland and an effective opposition for our entire state.

Journalist: Would you like to be opposition leader if you do win?

Cameron Dick: Ultimately, my sole aim at this stage is to continue to represent this community, where I was born and where I was bred. I want to be continuing if I can as the State Member for Greenslopes over the last three years. It‘s been an enormous privilege to represent this community over the past three years. I grew up just down the road at Holland Park. I went to Marshall Road State School. It is a very personal thing for me to represent the community where much of what happened to me as a young man makes me the man that I am today. So my sole focus now is on succeeding the best I can tomorrow. To be re-elected if the good people of Greenslopes seek to return me to office. And then being their voice in the Parliament and being a strong and effective opposition.

Journalist: (Inaudible)

Cameron Dick: I’m going to keep fighting until 6 o’clock tomorrow. It is a very difficult time for the Party. The polls are the polls and they are very clear but we need to be realistic as Kevin said about what may happen. I think I have more to give. I feel there is a lot of criticism about the Government but let me say this, I have as much energy, enthusiasm and as much commitment as the day I was elected three years ago.  I’ve got more to give and I want do that for the people of this electorate and hopefully on a broader level being the voice of the people of Queensland.

Journalist: (Inaudible)… into tomorrow when the polls are effectively saying we will not be the Government?

Cameron Dick: Look, this is a hard election, there’s no doubt about that. The polls are clear, but all of us, all of us who are in the Parliament and all of us who are Labor candidates are fighting our hardest wherever we are running. To represent the community that we’re currently representing or to stand up for the Labor Party and the good things we’ve done over the last 3 years, in education, introducing the prep year, now transitioning year 7 into high school, delivering the national curriculum, so everyone student in every classroom in every school in Queensland and around Australia is taught the same thing. These are the things that make a difference, create opportunity, and change people’s lives. I’m proud of that. I’m proud to have been the Attorney General in a Labor Government, I’m proud to have been the Minister for Industrial Relations in a Labor Government and I’m proud to have been the Education Minister. It’s been an enormous privilege for me and my focus is always Greenslopes. It always has been and it always will be and I’ll keep fighting until 6 o’clock tomorrow night.

Journalist: Is this heart breaking?

Kevin Rudd:  A lot of things are said in election campaigns. Let’s just cut to the chase here and forget all the nonsense. It’s important that we just level with people about a very simple fact here. It is absolutely clear what Queenslanders are now saying about, through the polls, about the change in government. But it’s equally clear that I don’t believe that they want a one party state. I think that’s its equally clear that they don’t want the LNP with a blank cheque and therefore I appeal to Queenslanders to make sure that you have an effective opposition. Which is why I’m here to support Cameron Dick, he’s one of the hopes of the side for the future. It’s why I’ve been supporting Andrew Fraser, he’s one of the hopes of the side for the future. Di Farmer, one of the hopes of the side for the future. Good people, but the bottom line is nobody in Queensland wants an LNP, out of control, power gone to their head, a one party state, with a complete blank cheque for the future. They need an effective opposition. Cameron is part of that future and so is Andrew Fraser and so is Di Farmer.

Journalist: (Inaudible) … are you worried about a Campbell run Queensland?

Kevin Rudd: Queenslanders are very practical folks. They are very practical folks. I grew up on a farm, you know what happens when you feed cattle, you know what happens when you fix a fence, you know what happens when you take your stock to market. You actually understand all this, it’s very practical. Queenslanders understand politics in a very practical way. They are saying through the polls that there is likely to be a change in government, they are saying through the polls that it is likely to be the biggest landslide in Queensland political history but I also think that Queenslanders being practical will not want a Liberal National Party government with power gone to their heads, out of control, with a complete blank cheque to do whatever they want in the future. They will want an effective opposition to hold them to account. Cameron Dick, Andrew Fraser, Di Farmer, strong local candidates are part of that future. It’s part of the health of Queensland democracy in the future. So that is the core of my appeal, no nonsense, no sorts of flights of fancy here, no flowery spin, it’s just telling it like it is and that’s why I’m here today. Thanks folks.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Margaret Whitlam - Condolence remarks to the Parliament

Margaret Whitlam was a major national figure in her own right, and entirely deserving in her own right, of the formal recognition of this Parliament.

While inseparable in the Australian public’s mind, imagination and affection from one of Australia’s great Prime Ministers, Gough Whitlam, over the last 35 years, Margaret Whitlam’s extraordinary individual contribution to the face of modern Australia has become a matter of agreed historical record – and for many decades now, one that has long transcended the political divide.

Margaret Whitlam’s public life was therefore not the appendage of someone else’s.

It was her own life - an extraordinary life, and a life lived to the full.

She was a strong, independent voice for the full and equal role of women in modern Australia.

She was an early, strong and independent voice for indigenous Australians.

And a strong and independent voice for the role of the arts and artists in Australia’s national life.

She was driven by the deepest principles of social justice.

Driven also by an even deeper love for Australia.

At a personal level, Margaret was warm, generous, blessed with a truly wicked sense of humour, and always a source of encouragement for others in public life.

She was all these things to my wife, Therese – and it is for this particular reason that I also wanted briefly to speak in this condolence motion today.

There were many tears in our household over the weekend, as both Therese and Jessica saw Margaret as an inspiration, and were honoured to call her a friend.

Back in 2007, Therese asked Margaret for some advice when she came round to the Lodge for afternoon tea – Margaret’s simple, encouraging reply was “just be yourself darling and you’ll do beautifully”.

Margaret became something of a soul mate for Therese in the years since then, and she has asked if I could thank publically the family for sharing Margaret with her over this time.

Margaret Whitlam – a truly remarkable Australian life. A public life that is the stuff of inspiration.

A private person who in her 80s and 90s still took time for others.

And we loved her dearly.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A St Patricks Day Limerick

Brisbane once had a mayor they called Can Do;
who wished to rule Queensland too.
So he quit, picked a seat;
where Kate Jones was to beat,
Only to find Kate fought like a Bantu.

His party elected him head;
Clive Palmer knew he’s not red;
But switching to Campbell;
Would prove quite a gamble;
If young Kate was to win instead.

But answer that question Can Do could not,
Which left Jean-Paul, Lawrence, Jeff to plot;
And now voters must ponder;
If in fact they are fonder;
Of Anna or Premier dot dot.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Transcript - Visit to Cavendish Road State High School

I’ve been to Cav Road many times over the years and I’ve been in Parliament now for about 13 years. Those of you who are in grade 8 and 13 years old, you were born when I was first elected as a Member of Parliament. So I’ve been to this school on many, many, many different occasions. All of you will remember Mr Sampson, who was the principal here. I welcome very much your new principal and I’ve seen what a fantastic school community this has become over the years.

I often, around the country and around the world, recite your school motto in Latin, nil sine pulveres - nothing without work. If you know the Latin well it means nothing without dust. You know the word to pulverise, to render something from a substance into dust and as I’m told that the origin of your Latin motto comes from the ancient chariot races of Ancient Rome and that you could never win the chariot race unless you had really churned up the dust on the way around the amphitheatre or circus maximus. Nothing without dust, nothing without work.

For you guys and for all of us it’s a pretty important motto. Unless you work hard at what you do, you will never be good at it. Unless you work had at what you do you will never be the world's best. Unless you work hard at what you do you will never change the world. 

But there is another principle involved in all that as well. It’s not just working hard at something, working hard to be the best student at maths, working hard to be the best student in languages, working hard to be the best and most entertaining person on the stage, the best person at the roundball game which you play here, the best person at athletics in general, the best swimmer in the school. It’s not just working hard at being that because that is taken for granted. There is another principle as well, which is, what do you believe in and why? What is going to cause you to be at your best? What is the purpose for being the best student or being the best member of your school council to support those who may be having a hard time? It’s that second question, which is why? Why are you working so hard? What purpose do you want to serve? What do you want to do with your life? Who do you want to help? That is equally important for the future.

Let me give you an example. I know a whole bunch of people in Canberra who are the best agricultural scientists in the world. They can take a given box of seeds for a given block of land in the most impoverished part of the world and by doing some of their agricultural magic, they can change that agricultural yield, that is how much you get per hectare or acre, for planting seeds and multiply it by five. What does that mean? It’s the difference between starvation and malnutrition on the one hand and food sub sufficiency on the other. So, their technical skills as agriculture scientists are terrific. They are first class, they are seriously smart people. They get enormous professional satisfaction about being able to hit the scientific solution on how do I boost the yield from a given crop on a given hectare of land.

But the other part to their lives is that while they are working, in the Australian International Aid Bureau, it is because they passionately believe that they’ve got a responsibility to human beings, to help other people lift themselves out of poverty. In other words, they are fundamentally motivated about what’s not just good for me but what’s good for you. What’s good for other people? And what they do is not just some routine, they do it because it inspires them, it causes them to be bigger and more expansive than what they otherwise might be. More satisfied because it is not just being the smartest agricultural scientist in the world, it’s knowing that on a daily basis that you will help save a couple of hundred lives. When you go home at night and have a shave, when you go home at night and put on your glad rags to go out to whatever party is on that evening you know in your heart that you have done something really good for the world and for your fellow human beings.

Getting those two things right is really important. Knowing what you believe and why, in other words, what purpose are you going to serve in life and who are you going to help on the way through. Then secondly, how do you make that happen through the skills that you’ve got and how do you refine those skills to be the best possible, in the field of your interests. You know on the way through it’s never an even ride. If you’ve watched the news this week you’ll know that I haven’t exactly had an even ride. Any of you ever failed at something? I don’t mean pass or fail at a subject. I mean set out to achieve something where you’ve fallen short. I’m a bit like that. Sometimes you succeed, when you are elected as Prime Minister of a country, sometimes you succeed by serving as Foreign Minister of a country and sometimes you fail, by not winning enough votes in your Parliamentary party to become the leader. Not naming anyone in particular, other than me. 

The key thing going back to where I began, you’ll say nil sine pulveres then dust yourself off and you pick yourself up and know that most people have exactly the same experience. You don’t win all the time. Part of life wisdom is knowing how to deal with the times when you don’t win, when you lose. Sometimes it’s even harder than that because you are seen by a bigger group of people to have lost. In my case recently quite a large number of people. So dusting yourself off when it doesn’t quite go right and having another go and doing better next time. That’s part of what it’s all about as well. 

So, in summary, nothing without dust, meaning work your hearts out for the things you are interested in and for the things you want to do, things which you are good at, the things which light up your lives. Whatever it might be, because you will never be the best at it unless you work at it, from my life experience. Secondly, know what you believe in, beyond making a dollar. Know what you believe in, in terms of how you can help your fellow human beings at home and abroad. Thirdly, if it doesn’t all go to plan and you fall over, pick yourself up and dust yourself off and have another go, because most people have that as their life experience and the second and the third and the fourth time around, you will be surprised at what you are then capable of doing.  

Thanks for your time.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Farewell Remarks to DFAT

Thank you very much, Dennis. Thank you very much colleagues.

This space is a little bit like being in the Roman Colosseum [Laughter] I hope it's a gentler one than the one from which I've just come.

I said in remarks here a while ago that my career trajectory began in this Department.

When I was in Beijing, not long after I left the Prime Ministership, I was interviewed on Beijing television. They came to an event that I was opening at an arts exhibition on the walls of the old imperial capital.

And they greeted me, coming up to open this exhibition and their first question to me in Chinese was “Lu Kewan, ni hai huozhe?”

For those of you who don’t speak Chinese, the question is “Kevin, you're alive?!” [Laughter]

When you think about it, that's an interesting reflection on Chinese politics. And we think we have it rough here! [Laughter]

So I then said to him in my response, “Well, I began my diplomatic career on the China desk here at the Department of Foreign Affairs. I then went to work in an Australian State Government and became the Director General of the Cabinet Office. I was then elected as a Member of the Australian Parliament. I then became the Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs. I then became Leader of the Opposition. I was then elected Prime Minister. And I've just now become the Foreign Minister. And based on my current career trajectory, I'll soon be desk officer on the China desk in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. [Laughter]

So whoever's in charge of the China Branch watch out. [Laughter]

I'm also told that my remarks today will go to our friends and colleagues around the world. I don't know whether it's audio or whether it's video but I'm told I should keep a certain modesty of language. [Laughter] Well there's no bad language ever used around here, is there?

Let me make some remarks about where we're going in the world and those who I want to thank here today.

Thirty years ago, I first entered the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. It was only 40 years before that, in the depths of the Second World War that the modern department under Evatt came into being. When I began working here there was still senior serving diplomats in the department who had been in the department since the very beginning.

We are a young department of state. We have become, however, a great department of state. And across the world, we are now seen as one of the most respected, professional and effective foreign services of any nation state.

All this in less than two generations.

And this is a tribute to those who have gone before us.

It is a tribute to those of you standing here today.

And to those of you who are our youngest diplomats here today, you will take our department through to the centenary of the establishment of the modern department. You carry both the responsibility of history, and the even heavier responsibility to help carve out our nation's future in a highly uncertain world.

The institutions of state are of central importance.

Politicians come and go depending on the exigencies of the political season. But this great institution of state, together with the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Treasury have vital, enduring responsibilities for the protection and advancement of our critical national interests, and our growing international responsibilities - both shaped by our enduring values as one of the world's oldest continuing democracies.

The work you do here is not just relevant to these responsibilities. It is vital to these responsibilities. And you are among a handful of institutions who are the continuing custodians of these great responsibilities of state.

As both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, I have sought to lead Australian foreign policy in a bolder direction than before, mindful of our continuing interests, but seized by the fundamental changes rapidly unfolding in the world and region around us.

Globalisation is no longer a seminar topic. It is the new policy environment in which we operate. While our region remains central, we are now buffeted and challenged by developments and interests way beyond the Asia Pacific as well.

We are grappling with the globalisation of security; the globalisation of the economy; the globalisation of environment policy; the globalisation of unprecedented people movement across the planet, including the millions of Australians who travel abroad each year who depend on us when it all goes wrong, anywhere from Senegal to Central America.

The truth is our interests are now challenged across the globe in a way that our predecessors did not have to deal with at the same scale.

There is a second great change unfolding under our feet, and that is also radically re-writing the environment in which we work, both in the region and beyond, and that is the rise of China.

China becoming the largest economy in the world this decade, possibly the largest global investor in its military in the next decade - these are events of profound significance for Australia and the region and the world.

For the first time in the settled history of this country, a non -democracy and a country not of the West is on track to become the leading global power.

For 200 years, our fundamental global security bearings, and our regional security interests, have been anchored in defence relationships with the dominant western powers: for the first one and a half centuries with the United Kingdom, and for the last half of the century and more, with the United States.

We are now faced with the daunting challenge of constructing what I have called in the public debate a new “Pax Pacifica”- to preserve the peace and prosperity of our wider region while never surrendering the fundamental interests and values for which we as Australians have stood for generations.

And if Pax Pacifica can be achieved through the rise of China, and while not wishing unnecessarily to excite the classicists among you- a new Pax Mundis is also possible- built on similar principles, anchored in the international legal norms and reflecting also the changing global power realities of which the rise of China is central, but not exclusive.

So colleagues, when I have said repeatedly, ad nauseam, ad infinitum, Australia is a middle power with global and regional interests, these are the great changes in our strategic environment to which I refer. Changes we must anticipate - changes to which we must respond to, and if we are clever, to also be ahead, well ahead, of the curve.
So as Australia, we have no alternative but to embrace this bigger, bolder, broader canvas for our foreign policy than has been the case before.

When I have said before I believe in a big Australia that is part of what I have meant in this age of globalisation. In this age of globalisation, a little Australia has very little future.

Objectively, Australia is a middle power with global and regional interests. Therefore we must behave as such. It must also be our mindset. The world also expects that of us.

This is not some sort of petty national swagger. It's about driving practical solutions to complex global and regional problems, drawing upon the unique position we hold in the world, the unique assets we bring to the table, and a highly professional Australian foreign service to give it effect.

That is why I have also argued, repeatedly, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, that we seek to advance our interest and our values through the agency of creative middle power diplomacy.

I believe these should remain the three cardinal principles of our modern Australian diplomacy.

One, a middle power with global interests.

Two, a power whose interests will always be anchored in the Asia Pacific and Asia Indian Ocean regions.

And three, a global and regional engagement driven by the agency of creative middle power diplomacy as a confident democracy, a successful open economy, and a dynamic and diverse people.

I have been enormously proud to be your Minister.

As a 15 year old, I wrote to Gough Whitlam when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, and asked Gough what I should do as a 15 year old in order to become an Australian diplomat. Gough as Prime Minister, and as Foreign Minister wrote back to me and said: Dear Kevin, go to university, study a foreign language, and apply to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs.

Being from Queensland, I had an instinctive response to authority. I did all the above and I joined your number.

I believe as Minister and earlier as Prime Minister, together with this great department, we have a great record of achievement.

The foundation, the establishment and the enhancement of the G20 as summit body, where Australia for the first time in its history has a seat at the top global economic table. This is a strong achievement of our diplomacy. Previous governments have dreamt of this. We in our generation brought it about. And our challenge and our opportunity is to enhance that institution and drive it forward with a unique Australian voice in the midst of it.

Second, the enhancement of the East Asian summit. For the first time in the history of Asia, we now have a single table in our region with all the principal powers around that table with an open agenda on political, security, economic and other challenges so that we can together craft a truly peaceful Pacific in the future. This had not been possible in the past. We advanced the idea of an Asia Pacific community. We've delivered that ideal and that objective by a different means.

Third, working with the United States to re-direct their strategic effort and energy and assets to this region for the 21st century. This was achieved through Australian diplomacy as well, as with the obvious concurrence of the United States. Through our active advocacy, America’s pivot to Asia was reflected in President Obama's statement to this Parliament, in this city, in our nation's capital, only several months ago. Furthermore, the re-direction of American energies in an enhanced economic entity across the Asia Pacific through the unfolding Trans-Pacific Partnership.

These are three great pillars for America's re-engagement with our region for the future. Their involvement in this new diplomatic institution, the East Asia Summit; second their military re-commitment to our region through the President's statement in Canberra in November and the pivot to Asia; and third, the widening net of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as we seek to bring about a common free trade area across our wider region, anchored in the US economy.

In the South Pacific, to our colleagues who've worked there, can I say thank you.

This is core to our interests in the future. The work we have done together with our colleagues in AusAID on the Pacific Partnerships for Development, the new framework for aid in the Pacific, together with the Cairns Compact, I believe have been hallmark achievements.

We have a singular responsibility as a government to transition these countries into a more robust self-reliant future. We must therefore renew and re-orient our efforts as we have been doing.

To our colleagues in Port Moresby, can I say, in particular, thank you for the extraordinary professionalism I have seen on the ground in recent months dealing effectively in the best traditions of diplomacy, with the unfolding challenges to security and stability in Papua New Guinea. Well done Team Australia.

Across wider Asia I would point to the fact that we have now engaged more broadly with China in what we have called China 2.0; engagement with a new Chinese economic growth model. That is the China beyond the resources trade, beyond the energy trade. The China we now engage with includes the new emerging second tier cities of that great emerging economy. This I believe has been important to open a new chapter in the perceptions of Australian business and how we carve out our future with this most central dynamic economy of Asia. And I am pleased that we have been able to secure new resources to expand our diplomatic and consular representation in Western China.

Elsewhere across wider Asia we have great success in strengthening existing bilateral relationships. We began with a 2+2 relationship, defence and foreign ministers with Japan. To that we have now added Korea. To that we have now added Indonesia. And then we're on the way to adding that with India. These are core strategic relationships; our principal relationships in many respects in the wider region and we've now anchored those in a new institutional set of arrangements which extend way beyond my occupancy of this position.

Elsewhere in Asia, the work that we have done together in opening the doors of Burma to the wider world, has been first class. I would thank all of our colleagues here who have achieved so much on the ground in prosecuting that task as well.

I'm proud of the fact that I was the first western Foreign Minister to visit Burma after they held their elections a year or so ago. We took a risk. We went in. We thought there were enough signs of possible change. We calibrated carefully with our embassy in Rangoon and through our Ambassador and with Aung San Suu Kyi. As a result we took that first step. Others have now followed. Creative middle-power diplomacy at work.

Encouraging change, reinforcing it practically and making sure we deliver tangible results for the good people of that troubled land.

We often talk of the Asia Pacific. I have sought also as your Minister to lead you in the direction of what I would describe as our enduring interests in the Asia/Indian Ocean region as well. I've mentioned our new strategic partnership with India. I should also mention the work we have now begun with India as chair and vice chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and our determination to transform that in time into a robust regional institution to deal with the challenges and opportunities which face us across this dynamic and at times dangerous region for Australia.

And the fact that we were able successfully through the combined efforts of this department to host a singularly successful Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Perth, our western capital, underlying to the countries of the Indian Ocean region the dynamism we represent to all of them.

The combined feedback from every head of government and every foreign minister from Africa and elsewhere, who set their feet on these shores during the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting often for the first time, was that they did not know that the modern Australia was like this.
Our challenge is to cause the rest of the world to reach that conclusion as well. We have a great national story to tell. A great national brand to export.

In Europe, I've also sought in this age of globalisation to extend the tent of our diplomacy to a wider canvas. Europe is a part of the world's future, not just part of its past. To our colleagues to the relevant parts of this department who have worked with me on that enterprise, I thank you as well.

The fact that we are now moving steadily in the direction of a formal treaty relationship with the European Union and that we have now a formal foreign policy dialogue at ministerial level with the European Union is a great advance. The fact that we now have the same in the principal capitals of Europe, in London, in Paris, and in Berlin where we now have a regular strategic dialogue at ministerial level, also represents a radical change from the past.

In the principal capitals of Europe, what is called the E3, or if you include Brussels the E4, we have now established and entrenched new strategic partnerships and the new institutional arrangements with all four- the principal drivers of the European enterprise within Europe and beyond, which did not exist before. They now exist as institutions for us to draw from in the future.

In the Middle East, we have been active as well. We now have an annual strategic dialogue with the Gulf Cooperation Council. We've been active in Libya, active in Syria, active in Egypt, active across North Africa. Our friends in Tunisia know the name of Australia now, because we were there to lend help at the right time. The Middle East therefore, and the wider Arab world, is a part of the global theatre where Australia's foreign policy priorities remain strong and where we must remain active.

In Africa we have sought to radically enhance our engagement. Why is this so? The reason is simple. The people of Africa - one billion of them - represent a future chapter in the global growth of our world's economy. It is emerging. It is becoming stronger and it is simply plain common sense being ahead of the curve to be totally engaged in the affairs of that great continent.

I'm proud of the fact that we have been able to open an embassy in Addis Ababa. I'm proud of the fact that we've secured resources to open a new mission in West Africa in Francophonie. I’m proud of our new institutional relationship with the African Union, and prospectively the African Development Bank.

Africa is part of our nation's future. It's not just the mining industry. It's the mining industry plus. And of course if we are serious global citizens in the institutions of the world, therefore we must be engaged in the capitals of Africa if we are to be effective agents of creative middle power diplomacy around the world.

The same logic applies to Latin America. I thank our colleagues from Latin America who in times past have often been seen within this agency as belonging to the margins of Australia's foreign policy interests. That is wrong. Anyone who looks at the future of Brazil knows that that is wrong. Brazil is a rising global power and together with Brazil the rest of Latin America follows.

Therefore, we have decided to enhance our engagement, not just bilaterally with the Brazilians but also with the institutions of central and southern America, both SICA and Mercosur. Again this is an investment in the future, being ahead of the curve, understanding where trends are taking us and not simply responding to them once they have happened.

The first Latin America Down Under Conference which we had arranged o be held in Sydney this year is designed to bring businesses of our two great continents together.

Through the United Nations could I also pay great tribute to those who work on the challenges we face there. Whether it's in the field of disarmament and our initiative for the Non-Proliferation Disarmament Initiative led so ably through this department or the other great multilateral initiatives with which we are associated.

I am proud of the fact that we are now the seventh largest aid donor in the world. In absolute dollar terms we are the seventh largest aid donor in the world. That means that when it comes to the future of the UN agencies and what they do in the humanitarian, social and economic spheres, we have a voice at the table commanded by the size of the budget we deliver and by the intellectual input we bring to those debates.

When it comes to shaping the future agendas of the global humanitarian institutions, under the framework of the United Nations, we now are not simply the provider of dollars, we are now in a unique position to begin to shape the policy of these institutions as well.

We are among the seven principals at the table. Together with the Americans, together with the Canadians, together with the European Union, the Germans, the British, we are there and now we have a unique voice to shape where those institutions go to in the future.

For our consular work, could I say to this enormous team of people in this department, our forgotten heroes, how much I value the work and the professionalism you have shown in saving Australians in dire circumstances. I am so proud of each and every one of you who have done that.

Individual lives turned around - saved - as a consequence of the sheer professionalism, friendship, courtesy of staff here and staff around the world. You literally turn people's lives around. You are the unsung heroes of this department and, I believe, of this Government.

Every time there is a conflict around the world, proper recognition is given to the role of the Australian defence and security forces, as it should be. Equal recognition should be given to the offices of this department. I remember so well the risks taken by our staff in Japan at the time of the earthquake and the tsunami and the unfolding nuclear uncertainty around Fukushima as they went about, singlehandedly, their task, their responsibility, their job to rescue and account for people who were unaccounted for.

So, what I say to each and every one of you who did that, whether you are here or listening to this at some later stage abroad in one of our missions, a heartfelt thank you. Well done. You have done great things in Australia's name.

To conclude, the Secretary made a comment before to the resourcing of this department for the future. I have done my best. In absolute dollar terms and real dollar terms the department is better positioned than it was when the Government was elected. We still need to do better again. I am pleased to have been able to achieve that. Much more remains to be achieved.

As you can see from my remarks, we've done a few things together in a relatively short period of time.

I remember as a young man listening to Paul Keating. I was with Paul at a Special Premiers Conference in Parliament House Brisbane where, after about half an hour, Paul – (then Treasurer under Bob Hawke as Prime Minister) - became bored. Paul went for a wander around the building. He ran into me, a young pup from Canberra who'd just gone up to work for the newly elected Goss Government. He said Kevie; Paul talks like that. [Laughter]

Kevie, there's only one thing to remember in life, in public life and in political life. If you're in politics, never see yourself as a Lancaster Bomber with unlimited fuel, lumbering slowly towards a target and eventually, maybe, at some distant point in the future dropping your ordinance because you may be taken out mid-air. Mate, you're a fighter pilot. Mate, you're a fighter pilot with limited fuel, get to the target, deliver the ordinance because you don't know how much longer you're going to be in the air.

There's something to be said of that. I hope I've taken some of it to heart.

To thank the Secretary, Dennis Richardson.

Dennis, not just in his current incarnation, but as I've known him these last 30 years, represents the finest traditions of the Australian foreign service. He has always had time for junior officers. I was one of them. He's always been no-nonsense about what shapes a future effective Australian foreign service officer. That's to be appreciated. His work as Australia's ambassador in Washington was superb, serving governments of both persuasions. Dennis, I honour you publicly as one of the best secretaries that this department has ever had.

To the Deputy Secretaries, Gillian; Bruce; Griggo - I can see loitering up the back; Heather and to the team of the senior executive can I say also a heartfelt thanks. You have been a great collegiate team working with me on the top challenges we face.

It may be of surprise to you that when we meet on a semi-weekly basis we work to the top 20 challenges and priorities of Australian foreign policy meticulously. It is our strategic checklist. It is our strategic planning list. That's how we operate, that's how we've done it, and I thank them for working with me on that.

To the First Assistant Secretaries, Branch Heads, Section Heads and to all the other policy officers who are here - I thank you for your professionalism and your policy advice and contribution.

To our consular staff, I thank you again for the extraordinary work you do.

To our administrative staff, for keeping the nuts and bolts of this enterprise, HMAS Foreign Policy, on course with ordinance and with fuel. I appreciate your work.

To all of our Ambassadors and High Commissioners and diplomatic and consular staff and administrative staff around the world, in the nearly 100 posts that we now have around the world, again I deliver a heartfelt thanks. You are great Australians doing great work in Australia's name. Whether you are from the smallest post to the largest, I have seen so many of you in the field that it causes me as Minister to be proud.

Could I also acknowledge publicly the work of my own personal staff.

To Philip Green, my Chief of Staff, experienced having worked as our High Commissioner in South Africa. Philip and the experience he has brought to my office has been invaluable and Philip, I thank you for all the work that you have done in that time, both for me as Foreign Minister and prior to that as Prime Minister.

To Peter Sawczak, who I think speaks eight languages, I wish he would speak Chinese as well but there's a limit to what any polymath can achieve I suppose, Peter, I thank you for your work.

To Rebecca Barton, who is here, thank you so much for your contribution Bec.

Jen Mason, Ranya Alkadamani and the other staff who from time to time have been with us in the office, you have made my life bearable in what can be sometimes the rigorous demands of the responsibilities of office.

Could I also publicly thank the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. Julie, on core questions of what I would describe as fundamental national interests, has in the great wisdom, I think, on the big foreign policy issues for Australia, invariably adopted a bipartisan position. I thank her publicly for that. That's what Australia should be about.

I have one radical suggestion at the end, and this is as Kevin Rudd, private citizen, Member of Parliament, former Prime Minister, former leader of the Opposition, former Foreign Minister.

When I come into this building and I see it and all the folk who work within it, I see it as named the Richard Casey Building. Dick Casey, although he went on to his eternal reward after I first entered this place, was a towering figure of Australian diplomacy. He was from the conservative side of Australian politics. He rose to become, eventually, Minister for External Affairs and then Governor-General. He began as one of our officers in London, attached to the British Cabinet Office. And for young diplomats here who have not read it, spend time extracting from the library here the letters which he wrote to then Prime Minister Bruce throughout the 1920s about the changing and emerging developments in Europe at the time, then in Washington during the war, and a stellar career following.

Bert Evatt also made a singular contribution. Bert Evatt founded the modern Department of Foreign Affairs in 1941 in the darkest days of World War II. Bert Evatt constructed, with the help of his staff, the modern Australian foreign service. Bert Evatt helped write the UN Charter. Bert Evatt helped in the founding of the UN. Bert Evatt led the task that we had in, frankly, dealing quite radically with the Dutch over Indonesian independence where we, for the first time in our history, sided with an emerging developing country rather than with an old colonial power. And Bert Evatt, as you know, played a seminal role in the UN Commission on Palestine which led to the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

So, the modest proposal I have as K Rudd, private citizen, is as follows.
Let's think about this building in the future being named the Evatt-Caset Building or the Casey-Evatt Building.

I leave that for others to reflect on and to contemplate. The reason I make that proposal is that this department, at its absolute best, is one which reflects the bipartisan and enduring interests that we have as Australia in a difficult and uncertain world.

Colleagues, I am proud of each and every one of you; I am proud to have worked with you; I am proud to have been one of you; and I am proud of what you will achieve in Australia's name in the future.

I thank you.

Farewell Address to AusAID

To Peter, the Director General, who has been at the helm of this organisation at a time of extraordinary change, I would simply express publicly my deep support, my deep gratitude for your guidance and your leadership, in what has been an extraordinary period of change. Not just in a quantum of what we do in the world. And the quality of what we do in the world. But also its impact here on you the staff, who run this great agency.

Thank you also through you Peter to the executive team who have a fantastic array of skills and experience. It's been a pleasure to work with them. A pleasure to work with them on a regular basis, working through the strategic challenges, point by point, as we have done. And I also regard that as a rewarding professional experience as the Minister. So I thank you team. You've been fantastic.

I'd also like to thank all of you who are abroad at the moment. Those who are posted at our extraordinary array of missions abroad, and to their international staff. You're on the front line and you have seen first-hand what Australian assistance can achieve. It has been for me, an honour to spend time with you in the field. You do Australia proud by what you do every day.

In some of the speeches I've made in recent days, I've reflected on this, and said that all Australians should be proud of the fact that this day our people, and our aid dollars, are literally saving hundreds and thousands of lives. That is something of which you should be proud as members of this great agency.

To you, the staff here in Canberra, as I said before, you've lived through and worked through a period of remarkable change. I'm proud to have been the Minister. But you have done me proud by the extraordinary resilience you have shown through this process of change.

You know the Australian public will always want to be confident that what we spend is spent wisely. And you are at the heart of that. If we do it well, we do it wisely, and we do it with maximum transparency and maximum effectiveness, it gives us enormous purchase in the politics of this nation to continue to grow that which we do in the world to 0.5 [of GNI] and, dare I say it, beyond 0.5.

Yours is a great career. As some of you may know, I'm a career foreign service officer by training. What I want to see is this agency become as equally recognised as a career agency of the Australian Government. It is where you come and where you fashion a career as a development officer of the Government of Australia.

This I believe will be one of the great vocations in the Australian public service. You are now living through its most formative stages.

Back in the Mesolithic period when I first joined the Department of Foreign Affairs…


…the agency was then called AIDAB. I'm sure there are veterans from AIDAB here. AIDAB was often regarded as something hanging off the back of an empty shoe box round the corner just underneath the fig tree at the back. That's not the way in which you are viewed now.

It's a tribute to the fact that this Government - and I believe successor Governments – will treat what we do in the world sufficiently seriously that we can now construct with confidence a career service in this great agency.

So I'd encourage each and every one of you as you embark upon your work here to see this as a career, to see it not just as a job, but also as a profession, and as a vocation.

This is good stuff that you are doing in Australia's name. And I'm proud of each and every one of you. And for me, and for those of you I've met personally over recent times either as Foreign Minister or as Prime Minister, it's been a pleasure to work with you.

Prior to '07, as Leader of the Opposition, I made a commitment to increase Australia's ODA to 0.5 of GNI by 2015-16.

Why did I do that? Because, very simply, I've always believed that aid saves lives - that people can be lifted out of poverty.

It has a transformative effect on people through a good education. These are fundamental missions of what I describe as social justice.

Social justice and Australian values do not stop at the continental shelf. These are values for the world, and they are values for the poor in the world as well.

And so, when we reframed our aid strategy through the independent review of aid effectiveness, and when we said our number one objective is saving lives, we meant it.

When we said our number two objective was opportunity for all, we meant it.

When we said our number three objective was sustainable economic development to provide jobs for all, we meant it.

When we said our number four objective was good governance for all, we meant it.

And when we said our number five objective was to ensure that we had a capacity to respond rapidly and effectively to humanitarian disasters wherever they emerge in the world, we meant it.

And we meant it and we mean it because these reflect the values of who we are as Australians, reflecting them in policies and practices and procedures which work on the ground.

I also believe that an effective and strong Australian aid program is fundamental to Australia's national interest.

It's extraordinary to me that some would still question the need for Australia's aid program. Some claim that 0.5 of GNI is overly ambitious; that it’s unusually high by world standards. I think you will know in this room that is absolute bunkum - absolute bunkum. And as you know, I don't swear on video.


You never know who might be watching.


When we do reach 0.5 in 2015-16, we will be at the OECD average for the size of our total aid program.

You know the facts as well I - of our 24 nearest neighbours, 22 are developing countries. No one else in the developed world has that environment. We do.

No one has a stronger incentive for a strong, effective aid program across our region and beyond our region of the world than this Government - the Australian Government, and this nation, the Australian nation.

We are not Belgium. We are not the Netherlands. We are not France. We are not Italy. We are not Canada. We are not the United States.

We're a developed and wealthy country in the midst of an emerging and developing world. It is therefore not just the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do.

And therefore, based on those two sets of arguments, I believe we put to bed any residual criticism as to why this is important for Australia's long-term interests and as a reflection of Australia's enduring values.

Of course, 1.4 billion people live in absolute poverty today. And two thirds of these are in our region.

By lifting people out of poverty, we grow the global economy. Australia exports $90 billion of goods and services annually to countries where our aid is currently delivered.

Effective aid also acts against political and religious radicalisation. It's also capable of reducing dangerous irregular people movements around the world.

Aid therefore is not an optional extra for Australia. Aid is fundamental to Australia's national interest and a continuing expression of our national values. It is therefore core business for any Government of Australia and any Minister who has the privilege of being responsible for it.

Fortunately, the importance of aid is becoming increasingly recognised across the Australian public policy debate.

In my time both as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, I'm extremely grateful for the support of my Cabinet and Caucus colleagues for the aid program. Support for the 0.5 target has been consistent Government policy since the 2007 election. It's important Labor policy. And I thank very much the Prime Minister for her continued and unwavering support for the realisation of this objective.

I'm proud of the bipartisan support for the aid program as well.

Some of you may recall, some not, but I have said now for a long time that one of my core objectives in my tenure in this position has been to cause the Australian aid program to be a bipartisan endeavour, not the subject of partisan rancour and dispute, so that if the Australian Government changes in the future, it is a seamless change. I believe we have made significant progress on that score.

I have publicly acknowledged before, and I do again today, the role of Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Foreign Minister, for her continued strong support for the 0.5 target. I similarly acknowledge the public commitment by the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott.

Development should never become a political football. One of the achievements I believe of the review of independent aid effectiveness and the buy-in from the Opposition is I believe, to have made substantial progress in putting that particular demon to bed.

There is legitimate political debate about how we spend the dollars, and that's where you good folks come in. There is however, I believe, a fundamental importance in continuing bipartisan consensus on the direction in which we head, which is 0.5 and beyond. That is for me, fundamental.

Much of the credit for the maintenance of official overseas aid has of course been also delivered by various members of the development community themselves. I would publicly acknowledge also the role of ACFID (Australian Council for International Development) because I believe them to have been an important partner for us in what we have done, and of course all the other international agencies as well who have worked for us as NGOs or with us as NGOs.

The record of achievements since 2007 has been phenomenal. This is something that each and every one of you in this room should be proud of, and each and every one of you watching from abroad should be proud of as well.

When I was Prime Minister, the Government established the Millennium Development Goals, the guiding principle to the aid program. These set the overall direction for our aid and will continue to lie at the heart of the program as it grows.

In 2008, consistent with the MDGs, we introduced the Pacific Partnerships for Development. We also introduced the Cairns Compact. These are fundamental reforms in the aid landscape across those countries which are most dependent on us getting it right. At last, we can now measure our performance on the ground against the key MDG indicators across all the states of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, those for whom we have the foremost international responsibilities and interests.

Refashioning our agreements with them has been important to reflect the measurability of our success, in turn underpinning the political support in this country for delivering dollars to those programs.

The Pacific Partnerships for Development and the Cairns Compact embedded mutual respect, mutual partnership and mutual responsibility, focusing on sustainable development into our aid program as well.

When I became Foreign Minister in September 2010, one of my first acts, as Peter has just indicated, was to visit the medical facility that we established in the Punjab in response to the devastating floods in Pakistan. I was able to see first-hand the amazing work of AusAID, along with the ADF to establish an emergency medical centre which went on to treat 11,000 people in just a few months.

In November of 2010, we embarked on the first Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness in 15 years. I consider this to be a first class exercise in Australian public policy. Each of you in this room who have been participants in that review and reform process should be proud of what you have achieved. The review was begun in November 2010. It delivered its report to the Government in April 2011.

By 6 July 2011, I was able to launch a new aid policy - making effectiveness the undisputed cornerstone of Australia's aid program.

Therefore, in eight months we were able to not only conduct a major independent review, we've delivered a substantive response to that review as agreed to by the Cabinet.

We've agreed, or agreed in principle to 38 of the 39 recommendations of the independent review. The only one not agreed to is a matter for the Prime Minister – that is the title of the Minister responsible for the aid program.

These achievements are making a real, practical difference, and of the 38 recommendations agreed to in principle or in full, 27 have been implemented in full already, and implementation of the remainder is now underway.

Our response to unexpected events has been stronger.

We've reacted quickly and effectively to the world changing events that we have seen both through the Arab Spring and the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. We are the third largest donor of humanitarian assistance in Libya, and the fifth largest to the drought in the Horn.

In my visit to the Horn of Africa in July, it was one of the most powerful moments that I had as a Minister. Seeing babies in their mothers’ arms, limp, listless, silently suffering from hunger - some dying.

Yet because of our rapid response, Australia was able to help provide food to eight million people affected by this drought - eight million people. That is a third of the population of the Commonwealth of Australia.

They may not know where the food came from, but we know that the helping hand of Australia kept people alive who would otherwise simply have perished.

I was proud we were able to involve the spirit and generosity of the Australian people through the innovative Dollar-For-Dollar initiative, where we raised with every-day Australians over $27 million.

This is a terrific initiative, harnessing the goodwill of the Australian public into the core programs of what we seek to do through the Australian Government.

Our support for immunising children through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, (GAVI), will mean that over the next four years we will help immunise 7.7 million kids, 7.7 million kids, virtually a third of our population, who will live because of the work you do. Think about it. Be proud of it.

Education has become the flagship of our aid program. We've become world leaders on education policy and program delivery and realising the goal of a single global education institution.

If we do not get education right globally, we'll be a dog chasing its tail. If we get it right within our own region, and across the developing world, of course, we then establish sustainable development for emerging countries which have had problems, fundamental problems, with the quality of their human capital.

We're also backing our words with action through our commitment to the Global Partnership for Education which will result in over two million more kids enrolled and completing primary school.

Saving 7.7 million kids through GAVI - sending 2.2 million kids to school who would never get to go to one - this isn't bad stuff, guys. Be proud of it.

You've changed people's lives, and through that, you change the world.

We’ve also built new institutions for the future.

In late 2009 we formally established the Australian Civilian Corps (ACC) – an idea first raised at the 2020 Summit. The Australian Civilian Corps provides us with a strong ready reserve of professionals for rapid deployment to national disaster areas throughout the world, be it in Haiti, Libya, South Sudan or Afghanistan.

In May 2011 we launched Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) – another 2020 Summit initiative – which enables younger, mid-career or retired Australians to spend a year or more in the field around the world, lifting people out of poverty, in Australia’s name.

2020 was not a talkfest. It became a program for action.

I know that the pace of internal reform within AusAID has been rapid, and that has placed extra burdens on the organisation, as you have adapted to new ways of operating.

We have delivered a Transparency Charter that makes AusAID a world leader in donor transparency. We've built the overall accountability of Australia's aid program with the implementation of a rolling four-year Cabinet review of the program's overall performance against stated objectives.

These reforms are as important as anything else that we have done since 2007. We can achieve wonderful things through the aid program and we will do so.

However, support for the aid program will depend on the continuing rigour of AusAID in the areas of accountability, and success and transparency.

Here I'd like to acknowledge the Director General's leadership in this area in particular. He knows better than anyone that AusAID has had to change and reform as it grows to meet an increasing mandate.

And again, I'd like to thank all staff for their dedication in meeting this challenge through a period of change. Change is hard. I know that. I've been through a bit of it myself [Laughter] but these reforms are paying off. AusAID is now acknowledged as one of the efficient aid agencies in the world.

We're now the seventh largest aid donor in the world. Pinch yourself Australians. We are the seventh largest aid donors in the world.

What we say counts. For the future, whoever is the Minister, and through Peter's leadership as Director-General, understand this and understand it well: we are now in a new period in our engagement with the global humanitarian aid institutions.

It's not just the dollars we deliver - it's what we say in terms of the direction of the policies of these institutions as well. What we say to the future policy direction of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) matters. What we now say for the future direction of UNICEF matters. What we say to the future direction of FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and WFP (World Food Programme) now matters, because we are significant players around the table.

So, therefore, it is not just the quality of how we deliver our aid programs ourselves, it is not just our transparency to the Australian people that's important, it is now the policy contribution we make to these institutions globally, driven by our unique experience as a developed country in the middle of a developing world.

That is something new for us. We are now equal to the traditional aid donors in the world, across Europe, Asia and North America.

We're not observers to the big debates held elsewhere, we're now up there with USAID, with DFID (UK Department for International Development), with the Canadian agency, with the Scandinavian agencies, with the Dutch agency and others driving the global policy agenda. It is a great challenge for an emerging career service, such as yours.

When Australia speaks, others now listen.

We're assuming a leadership role in the international community and dealing with the great challenges posed by global poverty. We have continued to achieve results in some of the most fragile states in the world. We've been steadfast in our support for countries transitioning to democracy.

None of this is possible without people. You are the people. And you have made it happen.

To those who've worked in my staff, can I also add a particular word of thanks for enduring me as their Minister.

To Andrew Cumpston - where are you, Andrew? I've lost you.

Keeping a low profile. [Laughter] A guy who's Six foot three, that's difficult. [Laughter]

Sarah Stuart.

Ed Vrkic.

And those who have worked with me in my office can I say to each and every one of you how much I value your collegiality and the way you have worked to the departmental executive and individual officers within the agency to make it work.

You know, this has been a great journey for me. I've learned a lot. I think I've contributed a bit.

At a personal level, you cannot but be moved in seeing what you do around the world.

I was talking about this recently to Dan Street, who has had a responsibility for the development portfolio also with my office, about the sheer impact on ourselves personally when you rock around the world and see transformed lives.

It's true, you can't get out of your head the images in Somalia; you just can't.

You've seen the little photograph of the little boy who we plucked out of the line, Josette Sheeran and myself from the World Food Programme. I have no medical training whatsoever. She has even less. The kid looked as though he was about to die. He was. And I don't know how we did it, but to get a little kid like that, and several others with them, off to UNICEF to get that little boy there, and then to see his photograph four months later as a bright, bouncing baby boy, like we all love to see here back home. You've seen the photograph. That is a story of what we do worldwide. It moves us as human beings because it says something about the common values of the common humanity we all share.

But certainly, elsewhere in the world, recently in El Salvador seeing Australian aid transporting Brazilian grain into flood-affected areas of the El Salvadorian countryside with AusAID.

And AusAID with its logo - designed by yours truly, by the way…[Laughter] … and how much did it cost, Peter? Nothing. [Laughter] Can I tell you the story about the kangaroo? I was not about to spend a million bucks working out what this logo should be. Having rocked around the world a bit, I came up with a piece of rocket science. Most people identify Australia with a kangaroo. Very few people identify the kangaroo with anywhere else in the world. And given a lot of folk we give stuff out to can't read, that struck me as a smart thing to do.

Seeing also, first-hand the impact of what we've done in Tripoli and wider Libya when I visited there only a couple of months ago.

The Transitional National Council in Libya have thanked me, and thanked me and thanked me again for the generosity of the Australian people through you, the Agency, literally keeping people alive. Through what we did with UNHCR and others in those extraordinarily parlous times.

The International Red Crescent through the Red Cross (ICRC) on the phone to me ringing up saying, we need money to keep people alive in Syria today when no-one else was prepared to give. We gave. And of their $14 million current appeal, we've contributed virtually $6 million of that ourselves.

You know, we're doing good stuff right now during some of the ugliest things that you see on your television set today through AusAID, through the ICRC, through the International Red Crescent, through the Syrian Red Crescent, bandaging up some person blown to bits yesterday by the horrific military force by Bashar al-Assad's regime.

And that's just the beginning of it. It's not the end of it.

For each and every one of you, there are so many challenges which lie ahead.

As I said to you at the beginning, this isn't a job, this is not even a career, it is a vocation.

And if you're called to it and you're impassioned by it, I can think of no better place to make your contribution to Australia's enduring national interests and Australia's enduring national values.

I thank you.

Goodbye, good luck.