Remarks by the Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Samoa

25 OCTOBER 2023, Australian High Commissioner’s Residence, Samoa

To the Parliamentary colleagues from Tasmania;

The Chairman and Members of the Australia – Pacific Security College, Advisory Board;

High Commissioner of Australia;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests;

Especially Rev. Siaosi Salesulu;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Talofa Lava and Good evening.

It is a pleasure for me to say a few words tonight on the occasion of welcoming the visits by the Members of the Tasmanian Parliament together with members of the Australia-Pacific Security College Advisory Board. I extend to all of you a warm welcome to Samoa and I have the opportunity to have a meeting with our Tasmanian colleagues, I hope you enjoy your visit. I would also like to thank the High Commissioner, Her Excellency Emily Luck for hosting tonight’s event in honour of our guests.

Tonight’s occasion is two-fold.

Firstly, we are honoured to receive members of Parliament from Tasmania and I am pleased to see the continued strengthening of relations and collaboration between our parliamentarians through the Pacific Parliamentary Partnerships program by Australia. In particular, the “twinning” arrangements between Samoa and Tasmanian parliaments that was established in 2007 has provided opportunities for the exchange of experts, whose experiences, knowledge and insight on how different procedures were dealt with in their Parliament were shared.

Our Office of the Legislative Assembly has benefitted from the Twinning Program over the years through capacity building and training programs to strengthen Parliamentarians and staff through sharing and transfer of skills and knowledge. This is an area that we would like to see continued to support the work of the Legislative. I thank the people and Government of Australia for this ongoing assistance.

Secondly, I am very pleased to acknowledge the presence of the Members of the Advisory Board of the Pacific Security College, who are meeting in Apia this week for the first time. The eminent members of this Advisory Board will be familiar to many of us, having worked in, as well as represented our Pacific governments in various distinguished and prominent roles, including in regional and multilateral organisations, and academia, amongst others. On the whole, the expertise, knowledge and experience of the Advisory Board members combined, are exceptional and noteworthy.

There is no doubt in my mind as to your collective abilities to inform and strengthen the work of the College in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Boe Declaration on Regional Security and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. Notwithstanding the different outlooks and discourses on politics and security, it is worth repeating that we strongly believe in being a part of a Blue Pacific continent that is free from military competition, and free from unrest and war that affect many other parts of the globe.

I thank the College for the support and assistance provided to Samoa by way of collaborative learning and knowledge sharing courses and initiatives, as well as in strategic analysis. I am also pleased to learn that some of the College’s courses will be delivered in both executive education and micro-credential mode from 2024. These will help to further upskill our officials’ capacities to better understand and inform our national security needs, policies and legislations cognisant of the diverse and complex landscape of our Blue Pacific, which in turn will strengthen national and regional capabilities and responses to a blend of traditional and non-traditional security issues.

We do look forward to continuing our engagement with the College, and I take this opportunity to convey our best wishes for a successful meeting and deliberations by the Advisory Board.

I like to conclude by inviting you all to raise your glasses to the wonderful partnerships between Australia and Samaoa.

Ia manuia!

This article was originally published by the Government of Samoa