Nov 7, 2020
Scott Morrison Speech Transcript Congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a speech congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their U.S. election win. Read the full transcript here.
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Scott Morrison: (00:05)
Morning, everyone. There is no more important, no deeper, no broader, no closer relationship, no relationship more critical to Australia’s strategic interests than the one that we enjoy with the United States, with its government and with its people. This relationship is bigger than any one individual. And those who have the great privilege to serve in either of the offices of prime minister or president are the custodians of that enduring relationship. United States is one of the world’s greatest democracies, alongside Australia and many others. And democracy is proven, not just in the times of still waters, but when those waters can get a bit choppy. And of course, we’ve seen that in recent times in the United States. But democracy is the process that they have always stood by to resolve such differences and to ensure that they can elect their leader and their leader can engage with the rest of the world, particularly with those countries with whom they share such deep and abiding interests, as we do with the United States.
Scott Morrison: (01:32)
Of course, there are processes that will still continue in the United States, and the institutions that sit around those are important to their democracy. And that’s important, and they will continue. But I join with other nations’ leaders around the world in congratulating President Elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, together with Vice President Elect Kamala Harris and her partner, Douglas Emhoff for their election at this recent US election. This is a profound time, not just for the United States, but for our partnership and the world more broadly. And I look forward to forging a great partnership in the spirit of the relationships that have always existed between prime ministers of Australia and presidents of the United States. I particularly look forward to this with, as President Elect Biden, because he comes to this relationship with a deep experience and a deep history, a history that has seen him come to Australia before, one that has involved many, many years of experience within the US system, and one that deeply understands this part of the world.
Scott Morrison: (02:54)
When he was in Australia, on board the HMAS Adelaide, he said this, “Thank you for having America’s back. And we will always have your back.” During the same visit to Australia, he said, “America and Australia continue to look to one another for mutual support.” And he described our Alliance with the United States as the core of the US’s vision for the Indo-Pacific. That was true then, and that is true now. President Elect Biden also has a deep understanding, I think, of the national security issues that confront not only the United States, but those more broadly across the world, and a deep personal understanding them, obviously, with his late son, Beau, having served in Iraq. But you may not know that President Elect Biden had two uncles who served in New Guinea during the Second World War, one of whom who was killed in New Guinea, and another who was seriously injured. So the relationship goes deep, and it’s personal. And I think that is something that will bring a lot to an understanding of the people-to-people relationship and the depth and history of the relationship between our two countries.
Scott Morrison: (04:20)
I hope did he and Dr. Biden will join us here in Australia for the 70th anniversary of ANZUS. ANZUS has been the bedrock of our security foundations here in Australia since that alliance was first established. And I look forward to inviting the president elect to join us next year in their formal capacities at that time and for us to be able to celebrate 70 years of peace, and stability, and security that has been established by this incredible relationship. And so, we look to begin a new chapter in this important relationship. We wish the American people all the very best. We are like-minded. We share values. We share an outlook, a peaceful outlook on the world and on life, a life where families can live together in peace and stability and pursue their own dreams and plan for their own futures with confidence. These are the values that we hold dear as two countries.
Scott Morrison: (05:33)
But as one chapter opens, of course, another chapter closes. And I want to thank President Trump and Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Secretary Mnuchin, and Secretary Esper, and the many other members of his cabinet, with whom we have had a very, very good working relationship over the years of the Trump administration. And of course, that will continue through the transition period. President Trump showed a great commitment to this part of the world and the relationship between Australia and the United States. This was also true of Vice President Pence, who I remember meeting for the first time in Papua New Guinea, and spending some important time with him there as we discussed the challenges, particularly in the Southwest Pacific and how we could work together, and as we have been.
Scott Morrison: (06:23)
Secretary Pompeo has also been a great voice for peace around the world, and I thank him for his special relationship with Australia. And Secretary Mnuchin, who I had the opportunity to work with, both as treasurer and as prime minister. This relationship is bigger than all of us. And in the time we serve in the roles that we have the privilege to serve in, we share a custodian for that relationship. And I have every confidence, because this confidence is based on more than 100 years of successful partnership, that this partnership will only go from strength to strength under the new shared stewardship that President Elect Biden and I will share going into the future. Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: (07:10)
Prime Minister, with a president elect so strong on climate change, how will that influence Australia’s commitment to climate change, and especially the net zero by 2030?
Scott Morrison: (07:20)
Well, Australia’s commitment to addressing climate change will continue. We are signatories to the Paris Agreement. That is something that we held fast to. And not only held fast to, but we have a very strong story to tell about our achievement when it comes to our commitments on the global stage, whether it’s exceeding both the Kyoto One and the Kyoto Two targets, and now are being able to confidently meet our 2030 commitments. And to the United States, which I assume they will under President Elect Biden, join the Paris Agreement, we welcome that. Australia never left. Australia was always there, meeting and keeping our commitments. I also particularly welcome the comments that were made during the campaign by Vice President Biden, at the time, when he showed a lot of similarity to Australia’s views on how technology can be used to address the lower emissions challenge.
Scott Morrison: (08:16)
If we want to see global emissions fall, then it’s not enough for us to meet our commitments. We need to have the transformational technologies that are scalable and affordable for the developing world as well, because that’s where all the emissions increases are coming from, in the decade ahead, in the next 20 years. We need to ensure that those economies can successfully, and commercially, and prosperously transform through these technologies. And I believe we’ll have a very positive discussion about the partnerships we can have with the United States about furthering those technological developments that will see a lower emissions future for the world, but a stronger economy as well, where we don’t say goodbye to jobs that we don’t have to say goodbye to. Okay. Thank you all very much.
Speaker 2: (09:02)
Prime Minister, sorry. In the event that Trump kind of refuses to leave, what circumstances would Australia and other firm allies need to be to ask him to respect the vote of the American people.
Scott Morrison: (09:17)
Look, I have great confidence in the institutions of America’s democracy, and I’ve been expressing those consistently. I have taken a similar tone to so many others, and that is to express patience and respect for the US system. It’s, in fact, I think, a sentiment that President Elect Biden has also expressed. This isn’t a time for those processes to finalize and for us to move on with the important work. Because there are so many important challenges, whether here in the Indo-Pacific, when it comes to world trade, and when it comes to dealing with the global pandemic and the global recession that has followed from that pandemic. There is much work for like-minded countries like Australia in the United States to get on with. And those processes in the United States will come to their conclusion. Their transition will proceed, as we always understand it to be. This is not a new process. This is a time-honored process and a time-established process. And I have every confidence that it will resolve itself in time. Okay.
Speaker 3: (10:20)
Prime Minister, what is the Trump legacy in the Indo-Pacific?
Scott Morrison: (10:20)
Sorry. I couldn’t quite hear over the birds.
Speaker 3: (10:22)
Oh. What is the Trump legacy in the Indo-Pacific?
Scott Morrison: (10:26)
There has been a tremendous commitment by the Trump administration here in the Indo-Pacific. We have seen, importantly, the quad come back together again. Together, and the Malabar Exercise that has been underway recently, I think, is a very good example of that. The bringing together of like-minded nations in the Indo-Pacific to work to one simple goal. And that is to see the prosperity of all countries and peace within the Indo-Pacific region, whether that’s here, whether that’s in Indonesia, whether that’s in Vietnam, in China, throughout Japan, South Korea. There has been an integration, and I think an effort, to try and bring people together in that regard. And we will continue that work because it’s very important for Australia’s interests. We want to see all of these countries succeed. When they do succeed, we can live together peacefully and prosperously.
Speaker 2: (11:17)
Prime Minister, it’s likely that President Elect would rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, perhaps in a more protectionist way than in 2016. What changes would you allow to the TPP if it were to enable the US to rejoin the partnership?
Scott Morrison: (11:31)
Well, look, we’re one of many partners in the TPP. We’re obviously champions of the TPP, and particularly in its resurrection after the Trump administration’s election four years ago. And we’re very pleased that we’re able to keep the door open for the United States, and many others to join as well. Now, the terms of how that would occur, is one that would have to be done collectively with the other partners to that relationship. It is true that there are many similarities in the trade outlook of both sides of politics in the United States. I think we’ve seen that.
Scott Morrison: (12:07)
But we, of course, we would welcome the re-engagement in those trade forums, because coming out of the COVID-19 recession, the way out is not to withdraw. The way out is not to pull back in. The way out is to reach out. The way out is to engage in market-based trade, fair trade, under proper rules through the World Trade Organization. And that’s something we’re very committed to, and we would welcome a commitment to that objective as well. That is going to help the world recover from the COVID-19 global recession. We’re very committed to that course, and we welcome all other countries doing the same.
Speaker 2: (12:49)
Are there any changes though, that you wouldn’t allow, that are non-negotiables?
Scott Morrison: (12:51)
I think it would be very early days to speculate on those matters. I would simply say to the United States, “The door has always remained open on the TPP. It’s open now. It’ll be open in the future, and you’re welcome anytime.” Thank you very much.