(Fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Mr. Leader of the Opposition,
Honorable Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m delighted to be here. Adelaide is a wonderful city. And one of the most livable cities in the world!
I’ve noticed, on this trip, that Italians and Australians share the same passion for “the good life”. We enjoy the sea, the sun, good company, amazing food, and great wines. We work hard to preserve “our good way of life”, but we are not “stressed people”. And I think that with this attitude we can do great things together!
I also know that Adelaide is famous for its festivals and world class events. But I never would have imagined to find here – on Victoria Square – the classic cars of the Targa Florio Rally, one of the great “trademarks” of the “Italian way of life”.
It’s the oldest car race in the world and for the first time since 1906 it’s being showcased outside of Sicily, my home Region in Italy. It’s great to see here in Adelaide its fabulous historic cars: Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Bugatti, Lancia and Maserati.
On a more serious note, Sicily was the scene of the landing of Allied and Commonwealth forces in Europe in July of 1943. Among them, many Australians. And every year, in Sicily, in the Commonwealth War Cemetery, we pay tribute to a generation of brave young Australians that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our liberty. Let us never forget that!
I was born in nineteen-seventy. And I’m blessed to have only known peace, prosperity, well-being, democracy and freedom. My dad was born in 1936. He suffered fascism, the war, and he jumped with joy when the Australians, with the Americans, landed in Sicily, bringing back freedom to our people. And chocolate for the kids.
Getting back to tonight and to this fantastic evening, I want to publicly thank Governor Hieu Van Le, Premier Weatherill and Opposition Leader Marshall for their very warm welcome. I am also grateful for the opportunity to have met the Italian community. I got to know a community that with great courage and sacrifice, hope and ambition, contributed to the success of South Australia and its model of multiculturalism. A great Italian community of more than 1 million people all across this wonderful country.
The special friendship between Italy and Australia goes a long way back in time. I even found out that on the ship of Captain Cook there were two Italians: Antonio Ponto and Mario Matra, who participated in the landing at Botany Bay in 1770.
I also found out that the first Italian to settle in South Australia was Antonio Giannoni from Rimini. It was the year 1839. Antonio was a sailor on a ship named “Recovery”. And his son, Pietro Giannoni, was elected Mayor of Norwood in 1920. He was one of the first political representatives – of Italian origin – in South Australia.
The journey by ship to Australia has always been a symbol of hope, new beginnings and new foundations of prosperity. I’m thinking of course of Italian immigrants – in the 50s, 60s and 70s – who also arrived here by ship and forever linked Italy and Australia together.
So, it’s kind of destiny that again – a ship – may symbolize the future of our friendship. Because, tonight, we are enjoying this great evening also thanks to Fincantieri – one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world, with more than 230 years of history – which is competing in Australia’s “SEA 5000” Program; for the construction, here in South Australia, of new vessels required by the Australian Navy. And allow me to thank the President of Fincantieri, Giampiero Massolo, for being here with us tonight, along with the President of the Italian Federation of Companies in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors, Guido Crosetto.
I’m also happy to recall that Fincantieri has recently launched a new project to build three cruise ship blocks in Adelaide, in collaboration with Australian Steel.
We would like stronger industrial and defence cooperation with Australia. If we succeed, South Australia will be the protagonist of a project that will transfer technology, innovation and European industrial capabilities across the defence industry. And of course thousands of new jobs will be created here.
We also would like to revitalize an Italian-Australian partnership in technology and innovation. Today, we celebrated the opening of Fincantieri’s Adelaide Office and the start of a new collaboration between Flinders University, Fincantieri’s Naval Technology Center (CETENA) and the University of Genova.
Something that I’ve been saying throughout my visit is that we need to “capitalize” the full potential of the 200 existing agreements between Italian and Australian Universities and Research Centers, both public and private. Because it means investing in the future of our brilliant young people.
I could mention many joint initiatives. A good example is a project called “Square Kilometer Array”, where our scientists are working together, along with other international teams, to build the largest multi-radio telescope in the world for the observation of the universe.
But I also want to highlight the stories of individual skill and creativity of our young talents. Like that of Flavia Tata Nardini, an Italian space scientist who is helping South Australia “launch” into space! As some of you may know, Flavia has established here in Adelaide a start-up to produce a first fleet of mini-satellites. She is a young Italian scientist who is giving a strong boost to the South-Australian space industry. A great example for many future scientists, both Italians and Australians.
In fact, I have come to Adelaide with the Italian Space Agency, which recently signed an agreement with South Australia for cooperation in the space industry. There are huge opportunities to seize in this field together. The “space economy” is already worth 300 billion euros and in the coming years this value is going to increase exponentially.
Today, at Flinders University, I was honored to open an exhibition by the Italian Space Agency. Italy has a long “space tradition” having been the third country, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to launch a satellite in orbit. It was 1964, more than 50 years ago. And we have built upon this tradition: we are among the founders and also third financial contributor of the European Space Agency.
There is no substitute for talent and creativity. Industry and hard work are of no avail without them. And Italian innovation is not only in space! It’s also right here on earth in many fields like: mechanics, automotive, robotics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnologies, fashion, design – and we are lucky this evening to have Bulgari and also the designer Giada Curti – as well as green technologies, agro-industry and also cuisine! I’m not kidding! Because tonight we are fortunate to taste the creations of Master Chef Moreno Cedroni, one of the most creative Italian cooks in the world. I think he deserves a round of applause along with the great musicians performing for us tonight!
Food is part of our culture. And I also know how important the agro-food tradition is here in South Australia, which produces a great majority of excellent Australian wines. Italians and Australians both know very well: that a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine!
Just a few hours ago, I had a meeting with the Italian-Australian business community. My message was simple: this is a very favorable moment to strengthen economic relations between Italy and Australia. Australia is establishing an astonishing record of 26 years of growth. And Italy too is back in the positive territory of growth, with the Eurozone hitting a 17 year high in new manufacturing orders.
In Canberra, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Foreign Minister Bishop to advance our bilateral partnership especially in trade and investments.
In particular, Australia can count on Italy as its “best friend” for the swift negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Australia. Italy and Australia are two countries that believe deeply in the power of free trade. Moreover, our economies are complementary. And so we need each other to grow.
Italy aspires to be a hub for Australia to trade and to invest in the biggest common market of the world: the European Union. We would like the Italian ports to be the gateway of Australia into Europe. At the same time, Australia can also be the entryway for Italian companies to expand into Asia.
Ultimately, investing in Italy and investing in Australia means investing in two outstanding “global brands”. As I said at the beginning, it’s much more than investing in a country. It’s investing in a “way of life”, in a “lifestyle”, and in a “culture”, that many investors appreciate. Our “way of life”, “lifestyle”, and “culture”, are our “new vessels” to sail in the era of deep globalization and to expand the great friendship between Italy and Australia.
Australia is one of our strongest friends. We can do great things together! Viva l’Australia, viva l’Italia!