March 25, 2022: On invitation by Australia’s Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Samoa’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, visited Australia from 20-25 March 2023.
The visit was an opportunity to elevate the Samoa-Australia partnership, and for Australians to hear valuable insights on our shared region from Samoa’s perspective.
During her visit, Prime Minister Fiame engaged in a range of activities across the country. In Canberra, she delivered the inaugural Lowy Institute FDC Pacific Lecture at Old Parliament House. This provided a platform to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities that face the Pacific region.
On 22 March, Prime Minister Fiame was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Australia’s Parliament House, including a military guard of honour and a 19-gun salute.
The occasion also saw Prime Ministers Fiame and Albanese sign an historical Bilateral Partnership Arrangement – O le fala folasia i lo ta Va – covering key areas of cooperation such as climate and disaster resilience, security, economic growth, and human and socio-economic development. Prime Minister Fiame had the opportunity to meet with Cabinet ministers, and the Leader of the Opposition.
Prime Minister Fiame also paid her respects at the Australian War Memorial, laying a wreath in memory of soldiers who lost their lives in conflict. She had the opportunity to meet with the Director of the Australian War Memorial, and former Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Mr. Matt Anderson PSM.
In Tasmania, Prime Minister Fiame visited the Hansen Orchard to meet with Samoan seasonal workers. This provided a valuable opportunity to connect with workers, hear their experiences, and gain insights into their valuable contributions to Australia’s and Samoa’s economy. She also met with the Honourable Mark Shelton MP, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, and the Honourable Craig Farrell MLC, the President of the Legislative Council, in recognition of the twinning arrangement between the Samoan and Tasmanian Parliaments. A Samoa parliamentary delegation to Tasmania will arrive in the coming week as part of the twinning arrangements between Samoa and the Tasmanian parliament for capacity building.
The Prime Minister’s visit also took her to Yulara and Uluru on March 23, to hear from First Nations Australians, including to hear about efforts in promoting indigenous tourism in Australia. This visit reflected the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring First Nation Australian perspectives are reflected in the country’s foreign policy.
The Prime Minister’s visit to the Northern Territory followed discussions in Canberra with Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Linda Burney MP, who briefed the Prime Minister on the process Australia is going through to implement the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart, which will see a referendum held later this year on enshrining an indigenous voice to Parliament.
The Prime Minister’s visit concluded in Brisbane on 24 March, where she met with the Pacific Islands Business Council to hear of connections between Australian businesses and Samoa’s private sector, and opportunities for future investment.
The visit by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa marks another milestone in the strong and enduring relationship between Samoa and Australia. The Australian Government was honoured to host the Prime Minister and looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with Samoa, working together to achieve our shared goals and aspirations for our nations and the wider Blue Pacific.