Prime Minister James Marape recalls Chief Agaundo’s dream when addressing Australian Parliament

Thursday, 8 February 2024, 3:21 pm

Prime Minister James Marape addressing Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra [PMs Media]

Prime Minister James Marape today recalled the late Chief Kondom Agaundo's statement back in the 1950's when he addressed the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra.

Mr Marape said Chief Agaundo a leader from the highlands of PNG, could not speak a word of English so he spoke in his language when he was invited to speak in Australia. 

The Prime Minister was grateful for the opportunity and stood tall with confidence, speaking as a proud son of fathers like Aguando who believed their sons and daughters would one day speak better than them and cherish the dream they had.  

“This is truly a historic moment for my country. This prophecy is being fulfilled at the highest, in the National Parliament of all Australians. Today I come to you as a son of Papua New Guinea, the chief servant of my diverse tribes of people and languages but one nation.

“I am very deeply honoured to be accorded this rare privilege, being the first Prime Minister of my country to address the Australian Parliament. It is a high privilege I do not take for granted, and my People and I will treasure this as a moment of honour to the PNG-Australia relationship,” Marape said.

He also acknowledged pioneers of PNG who were seated in the Public Gallery see him deliver the speech representing a country they truly love.

 Mr Marape told the Australian parliament that Sir Nambuka Mara from Western Highlands and Sir Yano Belo from Southern Highlands who he took along, represented the generation Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and Australian public servants worked with to prepare, lobby and push for independence.

“These gentlemen come from the time when most Papua New Guineans knew of the Outside World as Australia. These gentlemen are among the last surviving of their generation. 

“These generations of Australians and Papua New Guineans planted the seed of sovereign democracy and political independence,” Marape added. 

Mr Marape reiterated that the amount of work Australia put into the administration of Papua New Guinea can never be ignored.  

He also commended the greatest and most profound impact of Australian rule is the Democracy they left with PNG which is highly embraced in the Constitution, the democratic system of government, judiciary, the public service, education system, financial and banking system, and the christian worldview. 

“These are the imprints of Australia, your legacies,” Marape told Australians during his address.

He echoed that there is no greater imprint than the Gough Whitlam Labour Government agreeing to PNG’s Independence when it was proposed by the Michael Somare Pangu-led Government. 

“I pay homage to the memory of Prime Minister Whitlam for being the most socially-progressive of his time, for his policy of self-determination for the indigenous people of Australia, and for heeding the cries of our Founding Fathers for our own self-determination. 

“I do not know about you in Australia, but every Papua New Guinean who has ever lived and will live when James Marape is gone will forever revere Gough Whitlam and may his soul rest in God’s bosom,” Marape said.