I am pleased to be here with my friend and counterpart, Attorney General Ruddock.
It’s strange to fly halfway across the world and still feel as if you are visiting with neighbors… but that is what it’s like to come to Australia.
Americans and Australians share so many common interests and values – not the least of which is the hope for a more just and peaceful world. But it is not just that we share a desire for prosperity and safety…and a common commitment to peace and freedom.
We understand – as friends and distant neighbors – that to achieve these goals we must work together. We must continue to strive for new levels of cooperation and coordination between our nations.
This, of course, is particularly true as we confront the global threat of terrorism. Australia and America have been determined partners – along with so many other freedom-loving countries – in the fight against terrorism.
Our peoples have shared the devastation and loss of violent terrorist attacks. Australians were among the thousands of victims on September 11th – and Americans were lost alongside so many Australians as a result of the senseless bombings in Bali.
As the terror arrests in Australia from last week illustrate, the threat of another attack is still very real. We are facing a patient and evil enemy who remains intent on harming our citizens. And while it is easy to grow complacent over time, our enemy remains focused. We must as well.
I’d like to congratulate Attorney General Ruddock and the entire law enforcement community in Australia for your work to disrupt a potential terrorist attack. As we coordinate our efforts to apprehend terrorists around the globe, it is with an eye toward prevention. Our goal must be to stop terrorism before it reaches our shores and before innocent citizens are harmed.
That is why both of our countries have worked to employ enhanced law enforcement tools in the fight against terrorism and grappled with changing legal issues incumbent to this new threat. Australia has taken an active leadership role on this issue within the region.
The United States remains committed to international law and to supporting our international partners. That’s why we are pleased to have had this opportunity to meet with our counterparts to discuss a range of issues important to our joint efforts to improve security and ensure the rule of law. And, of course, we are doing so in a manner that preserves civil liberties.
The people of our nations share the hope of a peaceful world and the desire to pursue the opportunities of freedom.
It’s those dreams that we are working to secure by exploring every opportunity for coordination and cooperation between Australia and the United States.
I am pleased to be a part of this continuing commitment to our citizens – and to the cause of justice.