Historical Visit of Australia’s Speaker of the House of Representatives marks Mauritius’ Golden Jubilee of Independence
Media release, 12 January 2018
The Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia’s Parliament, the Hon Tony Smith MP, is visiting Mauritius from 11 to 13 January 2018 to mark the country’s Golden Jubilee of Independence and underline the longstanding and warm relations between the two countries.
Mr Smith is the first Australian Speaker to visit Mauritius and has been undertaking a wide-ranging program including calls on the President and Prime Minister, a high-level business roundtable organised by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a presentation at the University of Mauritius on democracy and role of the Speaker, and meeting other senior government, community and Australian alumni figures.
In recognition of the shared interests in education, the ocean economy, women’s empowerment and culture, including the history of indentured labour, Mr Smith’s program includes a number of site visits such as Aapravasi Ghat and Port Louis harbour where Western Australian fisheries company - Austral Fisheries – has operated for more than a decade.
“It’s an honour to be the first Australian Speaker to visit Mauritius and I congratulate Mauritius on its 50 years of independence,” Mr Smith said.
“Australia and Mauritius have a longstanding and warm relationship, given our many shared interests in Commonwealth values and democratic institutions, commitment to peace and prosperity, and interest in developing commercial ties. I hope to develop our links further through increased parliamentary relations and exchange,”Mr Smith said.
Earlier this week, Mr Smith met the Mauritian Speaker, the Hon Maya Hanoomanjee in the Seychelles where both were participating in the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth.
Mr Smith visited Dukesbridge preparatory school which has been partnered with an Australian school in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games being held in April on the Gold Coast. He will also visit Genderlinks’ Safe Haven Halfway Home for Young Women and symbolically handover Rp400,000 raised during the Australian High Commission’s White Ribbon Charity Dinner held last November in collaboration with Les Chefs du Coeur’s and corporate partners.
A particular moving part of the program will be the opportunity to visit Phoenix cemetery and pay respect to War War II serviceman, Arnold Partington, who is buried in the cemetery.
With a large diaspora community, over 2,000 Mauritians currently studying in Australia, and increasing education, research and innovation partnerships, two-way trade stands at more than A$400 million in 2017. Over 100 Australian companies are operating in Mauritius.