Australians party as Obama is US president-electNovember 5th, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Nov 5 (IANS) The euphoria unfolding at Grant Park in Chicago caught on with Australians as they celebrated Democrat Barack Obama’s historic victory as the first African-American president of the United States.Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd congratulated the United States president-elect Obama on his win, saying he has realised Martin Luther King’s dream.
“Forty-five years ago Martin Luther King had a dream of an America where men and women would be judged not on the colour of their skin but on the content of their character. Today, what America has done is turn that dream into a reality,” Rudd told reporters in Launceston in the island state of Tasmania, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP) news agency.
“Australia looks forward to working in the closest possible way in the closest possible partnership with an Obama administration, acting together to deal with the great common global challenges we face as democracies,” Rudd said.
“The world looks to America for global leadership on the great global challenges of the 21st century”, said Rudd, listing the challenges from the global financial crisis to climate change and challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Calling it a great day for American democracy and commending Obama’s speech as “extraordinary”, Rudd told reporters: “He has delivered to the world and to his country a very good message of hope. And this is a message of hope over fear. Let us celebrate this day with our friends in America”.
Rudd said Australia would continue to work closely with the US on Iraq and Afghanistan.
The former Liberal Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who joined President George Bush’s `Coalition of the Willing’ in the invasion of Iraq, last year had claimed that an Obama victory would be a boost for the terrorists as he believed Obama’s pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq would be dangerous.
“I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory,” Howard had told Channel Nine.
In a statement Wednesday, Federal Opposition Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull congratulated Obama. “On behalf of the federal opposition in Australia, I congratulate Senator Barack Obama on his historic election victory and look forward to working closely and productively with the new administration.”
In a world disenchanted with President George Bush, a Republican, Obama’s stunning victory was keenly watched by Australians, expatriates and American-Australian dual citizens on television and computer screens with celebrations galore.
In Canberra, the American embassy hosted a red, white and blue-themed election party at the National Press Club, where hundreds of guests were treated to pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and donuts, reports AAP.
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