President Michael D. Higgins announces details of the programme of activities during the State Visit to Australia
President Michael D. Higgins will make a State Visit to Australia from the 7th to the 23th October, at the invitation of the Government of Australia.
The President will be accompanied by Sabina Higgins. This is the first State Visit to Australia by an Irish President since 1998.
On Wednesday afternoon, 4th October, Military Honours will be rendered at Áras an Uachtaráin as the President and Sabina Higgins depart for Australia.
The President will have informal meetings in Perth before the official start of the State Visit, visiting Fremantle Prison and attending the Australasian GAA Championships Games.
On Monday 9 October, the President will be welcomed at Government House in Perth, with a traditional “Welcome To Country” ceremony from aboriginal elders and a formal welcome by the Governor of Western Australia, H.E. Kerry Sanderson AC.
In the afternoon, the President will unveil a Famine Memorial in Subiaco Park. The sculpture is designed by Charlie Smith and Joan Walsh-Smith, originally from Waterford, and commemorates the Great Irish Famine.
In the evening, the President will meet with the Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, Premier of Western Australia.
On Tuesday 10 October, President Higgins will become the first Head of State to address the joint Houses of Parliament of Western Australia. The title of the President’s address will be "Ireland and Australia – A Deep, Historic and Valuable Contemporary Relationship."
Later that day, the President will receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Western Australia.
In the evening, the President will host a reception for the Irish community in Perth, before going on to attend the “Sense of Ireland” concert, organised in honour of the State Visit.
On Thursday 12 October, the President and Sabina will meet with the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria.
In the afternoon, the President will address a group of companies working with Enterprise Ireland, as part of a programme of events within the State Visit in support of the work of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA in Australia. Over 50 Enterprise Ireland client companies will travel to Australia to participate in the trade and investment programme organised in the context of the President’s State Visit.
In the evening, the President will receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Melbourne, where the President will deliver a keynote address, entitled “The debate about economics and its Irish Australian dimensions," focusing on the teaching of economic theory, from the early debate on economics at the time of the Famine, its Australian contribution and the present influence of theory on policy.
On Friday 13th October, the President will meet with H.E. Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria, at Government House. Later that day, the President will visit the Irish Australian Support and Resource Bureau. In the evening, the President will host a reception for members of the Irish community in Victoria.
On Saturday 14 October, the President and Sabina will travel to Hobart in Tasmania, where they will unveil statues by Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie commemorating thousands of female convicts transported to Tasmania.
The President will go on to visit Cascades Female Factory, a World Heritage Site dedicated to the memory of the thousands of women and children imprisoned there.
In the evening, the President will have meetings with the Hon. Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania.
On Monday 16 October, the President will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. The President will then travel to Parliament House, for meetings with Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia.
Later that morning, the President will meet with Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The President will also have meetings with the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, leader of the opposition in the Australian Parliament, as well as with the Hon. Tony Smith MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Hon. Stephen Parry, the President of the Senate, in association with the Australia-Ireland Parliamentary Friendship Group.
In the evening, the President will meet with members of the Irish community in Canberra as well as representatives of local Aboriginal peoples.
On 17 October, President Higgins will address a large gathering of Enterprise Ireland client companies, their Australian customers and prospective trading partners. The meeting is part of a programme of activities, organised in the context of the President’s State Visit, to support the work of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
In the afternoon, the President will meet with the Hon. David Hurley, Governor of New South Wales.
On 18 October, the President will visit the Australian Monument to the Great Irish Famine, in the company of the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales. The monument commemorates the young Irish women who were sent to Australia under the ‘Earl Grey scheme’. Following the ceremony, the President will visit Hyde Park Barracks, the first convict barracks in New South Wales, and the New South Wales State Library.
In the afternoon, the President will visit the new Australian Rugby Union High Performance Centre.
On 19 October, President Higgins will visit the premises of a company supported by the IDA, before going on to the University of New South Wales where the President will deliver a keynote address on “Sharing the Tasks of Ethical Remembering – Ireland and Australia.”
On Friday 20 October, will address an event hosted by Tourism Ireland, and meet with members of the Australia Ireland Funds.
On Saturday 21 October, the President will visit the Irish Support Agency at Bondi, which provides support for vulnerable members of the Irish community in Sydney.
On arrival in Brisbane, the President will depart for an overnight in Warwick in Queensland, where he will meet with members of the Irish community and diaspora, and visit the graves and homesteads of descendants of the President’s great-uncle Patrick Higgins and great-aunt Mary Ann Higgins, who emigrated to Australia in 1862.
On Monday 23 October, the President will have meetings with the Hon. Paul de Jersey, Governor of Queensland, followed by a visit to the headquarters of Flight Centre, an IDA supported company based in Brisbane.
In the afternoon, the President will host a reception for the Irish community in Brisbane, followed by a performance by the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.
Following the reception, the President and Sabina will leave Australia, and begin a State Visit to New Zealand.