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President Barack Obama visits Australia

November 16, 2011 - CANBERRA

United States President Barak Obama visit to Australia marks the 60th anniversary of the Australian-US alliance. The pact is a relic of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS), a military pact between the three countries signed on 1 Sep 1961. It became an Australia-US pact when New Zealand banned nuclear-armed vessels from its ports, including US Navy vessels. Obama will address a rare joint sitting of Australia's House of Representatives and Senate on Nov 17.Obama's predecessor as president, George W. Bush, was heckled during a special parliamentary session on 23 Oct 2003 by opponents of the US invasion of Iraq. Canberra's decision to send troops to Iraq to support the US invasion was extremely controversial in Australia. With the Iraq war winding down, Obama can expect a warmer reception in a legislative body known for rowdy exchanges.

United States President Barak Obama visit to Australia marks the 60th anniversary of the Australian-US alliance. The pact is a relic of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS), a military pact between the three countries signed on 1 Sep 1961. It became an Australia-US pact when New Zealand banned nuclear-armed vessels from its ports, including US Navy vessels. Obama will address a rare joint sitting of Australia's House of Representatives and Senate on Nov 17. Obama's predecessor as president, George W. Bush, was heckled during a special parliamentary session on 23 Oct 2003 by opponents of the US invasion of Iraq. Canberra's decision to send troops to Iraq to support the US invasion was extremely controversial in Australia. With the Iraq war winding down, Obama can expect a warmer reception in a legislative body known for rowdy exchanges. The Australian Associated Press, citing a report written in Foreign Policy Magazine by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, notes that that the United States plans to update key alliances as part of its Asia-Pacific strategy. The updating of its alliance with Australia should be straightforward: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's announcement of the Obama visit exudes welcome. With New Zealand, it will be a matter of mending fences. In the mid-1980s New Zealand instituted an antinuclear policy and the ban on nuclear-armed vessels. In response, the United States formally suspended its treaty obligations to New Zealand in 1986 and reduced the two countries' military ties. The three nations remained formal parties to the treaty, but ANZUS has been inoperative since the row. Obama's visit follows his hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Hawaii on Nov 11, and precedes his visit his attendance at the East Asia Summit on Nov 19 in Bali. It will be Obama's first visit to Australia as president, but not his first visit: he visited as a child. Members of Parliament will have to return to Canberra from their electorates for the special sitting on Nov 17.

Australia 'indispensable' for US: Clinton (AAP/SMP)

Obama parliament speech to reinforce ties (AAP/SMH 13 Oct 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-11-16