Australia-Germany relationship soars to new heights
The President of the German Bundestag, Professor Norbert Lammert, has led a successful nine-day German delegation to Australia, visiting Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
A highlight of the trip was Dr Lammert participating in the christening of QANTAS’s newest Boeing 737 - the ‘Leichhardt’ aircraft in Brisbane.
During the official naming ceremony, Dr Lammert said Leichhardt could not have imagined that it could be possible to overcome distances in hours that previously took months.
“This plane is launched in the spirit of Ludwig Leichhardt, the spirit of knowledge, curiosity and ambition,” he said.
The aircraft was christened with water from Dawson River, an area explored by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844.
Professor Lammert was afforded high-level access to Australian leaders, meeting with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, NSW Governor David Hurley and Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey.
At Parliament House in Canberra, Dr Lammert spoke to representatives of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, the Australia-Germany Parliamentary Group and numerous federal representatives including House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, Senate President Stephen Parry and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop.
Dr Lammert met with several state politicians, including President of the NSW Legislative Council Don Harwin, Speaker of the Queensland Parliament Fiona Simpson, President of the Victorian Legislative Council Bruce Atkinson and Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly Christine Fyffe.
Another feature of Dr Lammert’s visit was strong engagement with cultural, education and business groups.
At the Goethe Institut, the President discussed cultural collaboration with Artistic Director of the Sydney Writers Festival Jemma Birrell, National President of Museums Australia Frank Howarth and Director of the Goethe Institut Dr Arpad Sölter.
Dr Lammert visited the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra, met with former Australian Ambassador to Germany Peter Tesch in Brisbane and participated in a roundtable meeting with representatives of German business in Melbourne.
The visit, however, was far more than just meetings. Dr Lammert delivered an impressive line-up of presentations, including a lecture on ‘Germany and the European Union 25 years after the Peaceful Revolution’ at the National Press Club and RMIT University, and on ‘Crises in Europe and the Middle East, German positions and Parliamentary Responsibility’ at the University of Queensland.
The other delegation members accompanying Dr Lammert were Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Member of Parliament, Mr Volkmar Klein, Member of Parliament, Dr Lorenz Mueller, Principal Private Secretary, Kabbinettschief and Ms Sybille Koch, Head of Protocol in the German Bundestag.
The trip was a valuable opportunity for Australian leaders to strengthen our relationship with an important G20 member and a strong partner on the international stage.