Perth Consul General David Gainer: Remarks on the 245th Anniversary of America’s Independence

The U.S. Consulate General Perth celebrated the 245th of Anniversary of America’s Independence on October 20 at ANZAC House with guests from Western Australia’s government, business, and community sectors. While postponed from its original date to due COVID-19, it was a pleasure to host partners and friends in WA for a belated Fourth of July Reception.

[Remarks as prepared]

Good evening everyone.  Thank you again, Ingrid, for your magnificent Welcome to Country. I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Governor Kim Beazley; Premier Mark McGowan; all state and federal ministers; the many members of parliament and mayors present; leaders of the business and academic communities; members of the Australian defence force and U.S. military; my fellow members of the consular corps; distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman, friends and colleagues:

Happy Fourth of July in October!  I am delighted that we were able to bring a little July rain and wind to this evening’s event!  Thank you all for joining us to celebrate the United States of America’s 245th Independence Day, albeit a few months late.  Thank you to our generous sponsors who made tonight possible.  You can see the full list on the screens.  And in particular, thank you, Premier, and your team, for keeping us safe during these tumultuous times.  Our hearts go out to those who have suffered from COVID-19, including the family of a great American and a beloved former leader of the U.S. Department of State, Colin Powell.

I’ll be brief.  This is an evening for celebration.  A celebration of 70 years of the ANZUS Treaty.  A celebration of this inaugural year of AUKUS.  A celebration of a Quad Leaders Meeting.  A celebration of the business-to-business and people-to-people connections between our two countries.  But most importantly, a celebration and a thank you for being our good friend and partner for so many years, and in the many years to come.  

Jessica and I have been extraordinarily lucky to call WA home.  We’ve wandered out yonder, through the vast expanses of this great state, from Laverton and Kalgoorlie to Albany, Collie, Busselton, and Bunbury; through Geraldton to Kalbarri and up north to Exmouth, Barrow Island, Karratha, Port Headland, and Broome.  I’ve even been to Christmas and Cocos Islands.  And I’ve had the immense pleasure of meeting with all 30 local governments in metropolitan Perth.  

In talking with mayors and CEOs, students and teachers, and business and community leaders, I am delighted by the close connections between our two countries, and the opportunities that abound, from Fulbright scholarships and E3 visas to cooperation on frontier technologies, critical minerals, and advanced battery supply chains.  We are intertwined in our work, as diplomats, entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, artists, athletes and soldiers.  And our job at the U.S. Consulate is to foster and deepen these connections.  I’d like to thank my entire team at the Consulate, including Matt Hafner, our MC, for making all this great work possible.  And because of the postponement, we are especially pleased to be able to welcome our two new officers to Perth, Somer Bessire-Briers and Elena Augustine, whom I hope that you are able to meet this evening.

In conclusion, the Fourth of July isn’t just about barbeque and fireworks (although there will be some red, white and blue doughnuts waiting for you when you depart).  Rather, it is a time to recommit to the truths that have imperfectly bound Americans together for 245 years: that all are created equal, and all are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  I believe that Australians share these principles with Americans; that I grew up learning many of the same things that you do: that everyone deserves a ‘fair go;’ that there is deep value in a job well done; and that we welcome newcomers with open arms.  So when an American lands in Perth, or a Western Australian in LA, everything makes sense.  These commonalities are at the heart of what we celebrate this evening.  So Happy Independence Day, and Happy Fourth of July in October!