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Vanuatu Independence Day

Vanuatu and Australia have close historical links. The former New Hebrides (as it was then called) was a major source of labour on Australian plantations during the latter 19th century. At one point, more than half of the adult male population on several of the islands had been taken away to work through a practice commonly known as ‘blackbirding’. Men of these men died here.

Vanuatu only achieved independence from France and the UK in 1980, and this was the first year that its Independence Day was celebrated in the Canberra region. It was my privilege to attend that event this past Saturday evening. Today in the Assembly I thanked the organisers and attendees for their warm welcome and congratulated all Ni-Vanuatu living in the ACT.

Click on the arrow button to read my speech.

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