Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PM O’Neill expresses nation’s gratitude for Gough Whitlam

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has extended his condolences to the family of former Australian Prime Minister Edward Gough Whitlam, following his passing overnight, and expressed the nation's gratitude for the role Whitlam played in Papua New Guinea's attainment of independence in 1975.
Gough Whitlam was appointed as an Honorary Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL), that carries the title of Chief, in recognition of his role in supporting Papua New Guinea to attain sovereignty and his enduring support to the development of the nation. 
O'Neill said the people of Papua New Guinea forever appreciated the steadfast support that Whitlam gave to the nation's move towards self-government and ultimately independence.
"Chief Whitlam will always hold a unique and special place in the history of Papua New Guinea as the Australian Prime Minister who worked with our founding fathers to achieve Independence for our nation," the Prime Minister said from Jakarta.
"Before he became Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam provided ongoing support for Papua New Guinea's emergence as an independent nation.
"When he became Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam worked closely with our then Chief Minister, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, and other founding fathers to deliver self-government in 1973 and independence two years later."Gough Whitlam's Prime Ministership was almost synonymous with Papua New Guinea's transition to independence and the people of our nation express our gratitude.  The Whitlam Government was elected in the lead-up to self-rule and was in office on the day of Papua New Guinea's Independence."
O'Neill is currently in Indonesia where he attended the Inauguration ceremony for President Joko Widodo.  
He will hold a bilateral meeting with the President today before returning to Port Moresby in the evening.

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