Secretary Rice’s “Hometown Visit” to Perth
Perth — 24-25 July 2008
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Perth July 24-25 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to come on a “hometown visit.” Dr. Rice is the second U.S. Secretary of State to come to Perth; the first was George Shultz, who visited in 1985.
Shortly after 6:30pm on July 24, Secretary Rice and FM Smith, who traveled with the Secretary on her aircraft from meetings in Singapore, were met on the airport tarmac by West Australian Senator and Immigration Minister Chris Evans, WA Premier Alan Carpenter, Ambassador Robert McCallum, and Consul General Ken Chern.
That evening, Dr. Rice spoke to 100 guests at a dinner hosted by Premier Carpenter at the University of Western Australia. Guests included a cross-section of the WA community, including Governor Ken Michael, University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor Alan Robson, child health expert Fiona Stanley, Aboriginal leader Patrick Dodson, former WA Premier Richard Court, WA Football coach John Worsfold, and leaders of other community sectors.
On the morning of July 25, after having coffee with FM Smith and his parents, wife and son, Dr. Rice spoke to 450 senior secondary school girls at Mercedes College, where the Foreign Minister’s daughter Maddie is a student. The Secretary commented that it was important for the girls to follow their passions — to find something they are good at and love to do — and to not worry about focusing on a particular career path. She also took part in a question and answer session with the girls.
Later that morning, Dr. Rice met with troops of the Special Air Services Regiment at Campbell Barracks, and with the families of SASR soldiers who had lost their lives in Afghanistan. Traveling on to Kings Park, she laid a wreath at the State War Memorial and, along with the Foreign Minister, held a press conference where she praised the close ties between the United States and Australia and stressed that America has no greater friend than Australia. Dr. Rice noted that the sacrifice made by soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq could never be repaid, and that nothing of value is won without sacrifice.
While in Perth, the Secretary also met U.S. Consulate General staff and their families.