Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

150707 Speech welcome reception for Aus team to PAC Games

Reception for Pacific Games Team

Address by Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Ms Deborah Stokes

Konedobu, Papua New Guinea

5 July 2015

• Chef de Mission, Malcolm Page
• Deputy Chef de Mission, Lisa Sams
• The Norfolk Islanders

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

I am very pleased to welcome each and every one of you to Papua New Guinea for the 15th Pacific Games.

This is the third time PNG has hosted the Games and the first time for Australia to be invited to participate. This confirms Australia as an integral part of the Pacific community.

Though our participation is limited to four sports - weightlifting, rugby 7s, sailing and taekwondo, we look forward to seeing you showcase your talents and enjoy every single moment of this great event. Perhaps even win gold.

Secondly, it’s wonderful to see such a strong presence of women in the Australian team. Of the 43 athletes, 26 are women.
Sport is a language that everyone speaks.

It reaches out and inspires people from all walks of life.

It can carry powerful messages about health, education and inclusiveness. Women and girls must have equal rights to access and participate in sport. I commend the Australian Olympic Committee by demonstrating leadership in this area.

Australia has a remarkable international sporting pedigree and is internationally recognised as a consistent, high-performing sporting nation.

I am very happy to inform you of the recently launched Australian Sports Diplomacy Strategy announced by Minister Bishop last week.

The strategy draws together our government’s aim to:
1. Connect people and institutions
2. Enhance sports for development
3. Showcase Australia, and
4. Support innovation and integrity.

The Pacific Games is an avenue where we can together achieve these goals together.

There are a lot of benefits that you - as athletes - can draw from this event. The most important of all is the people-to-people link. This is paramount to our diplomatic relationship with our Pacific neighbours.

I am once again very pleased to welcome you to Port Moresby and wish you the best of luck in your respective events.

I will be cheering for you to ‘go for gold’ and do Australia proud.


Thank you.