His Majesty hails close Brunei-Australia ties

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday lauded Bruneiís close relationship with Australia in various areas and looked forward to Australiaís continuous support and cooperation in regional initiatives and Aseanís regional processes.

His Majesty said this during a State Luncheon hosted by Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, at the Dining Room of the Government House.

Earlier, His Majesty consented to attend the official welcoming ceremony in honour of His Majestyís State Visit to Australia. The ceremony took place at the Government House, Canberra.

Upon arrival at the Government House, His Majesty was greeted by the Governor-General and was introduced to Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs as Representative of the Prime Minister of Australia.

His Majesty then walked to the Lakeside Lawn followed by a 21-gunshot salutation. His Majesty stepped on to the dais to receive the royal guard of honour accompanied by the national anthem of Brunei Darussalam. His Majesty later inspected the guard of honour, comprising 33 Marine Forces, 33 Air Forces, 33 Land Forces personnel and a commanding officer.

His Majesty subsequently was introduced to Senator Stephen Parry, Deputy President, Representative of the President of the Senate; Bruce Scott MP, Deputy Speaker, Representative of the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Pedro Raul Villagra Delgado, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Argentina; Representative of the leader of the opposition; Ms Marry Porter MLA, Member for Ginninderra, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Representative; Vice Admiral Peter Jones AO, DSC, RAN, Chief Capability Development Group, Chief of Defence Force Representative; Representative of the Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Mr Stephen Brady CVO, Official Secretary of the Governor-General; Todd Mercer, Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam; and Aunty Jannette Phillips, a Ngunnawal elder who later presented a Ďpesambahí to His Majesty.

The Governor-General was then introduced to Brunei Darussalamís delegation with minister status and to the Acting High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to Australia.

Both His Majesty and the Governor-General of Australia walked back to the royal dais where the national anthem of Brunei Darussalam was played followed by the national anthem of Australia.

Both leaders then went on to the Drawing Room of the Government House for an audience ceremony. Prior to the meeting, His Majesty consented to join a photo session and later signed the visitorís book.

During the meeting both leaders discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest as well as international and regional matters.

After the meeting, both leaders joined a State Luncheon hosted by the Governor-General.

Prior to lunch, His Majesty was introduced to Mr Michael Bryce, the husband of the Governor General.

The Governor-General was then introduced to the Brunei Darussalam delegation. It was followed shortly after by a short remark by the Governor-General welcoming His Majesty for his State Visit and expressed her delight on the progress achieved by the two nations through bilateral and regional cooperation.

His Majesty in return, expressed his appreciation to the Governor General for their generous hospitality received from the Government and the people of Australia.

The relationship between Brunei Darussalam and Australia has always been close and friendly in implementing cooperation in various areas such as economy, education, defence, trade and investment, health and energy.

As Chairman of Asean, said His Majesty, Brunei looks forward to Australiaís continuous support in regional initiatives and values its active role in the affairs of the region, including its contribution to Aseanís regional process through the Asean-Australia Dialogue and the East Asia Summit.

Australia is also a valuable partner in efforts to promote freer trade through the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Arrangements, APEC, the WTO and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Before leaving the Government House, His Majesty climbed on a buggy to see live kangaroos.

Accompanying His Majesty at the ceremonies were Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Education; Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade II; Dayangku Rohayaty binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Md Yassin, Acting High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to Australia; as well as other senior government officials. - Borneo Bulletin (3 May 2013)