Australia-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group – Hosted at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra

Australia-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group – Hosted at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra

The Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra in collaboration with the Australia-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group organized an event on 28 May 2024 to mark the first anniversary of the re-launching of the Group as well as to celebrate significant cultural and religious festivals namely the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and Vesak.

The Australian Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts was the Guest of Honour.

Sri Lanka born, Cassandra Fernando, MP of the Federal Parliament and Labour Party member as the Chair of the Group together with Senator James McGrath of the Liberal Party, the Vice Chair were associated with the invitation. 

The guest list included over fifteen MPs of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Research Assistants from the Parliament.

This initiative was taken to enhance close collaboration with the members of the Federal Parliament in Australia to strengthen ties between Sri Lanka and Australia to explore areas of cooperation for the benefit of the two counties. 

Welcoming the guests, the High Commissioner, Chitranganee Wagiswara briefed the Parliamentarians on recent developments between Australia and Sri Lanka which took place over the past year.  She recalled the statement made by the Assistant Minister, Tim Watts on Sri Lanka and Australia being Indian Ocean neighbours and the importance of enhancing the existing bi-lateral relations and the need to work together for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

The Chair of the Group, Cassandra Fernando addressing the gathering spoke of the close links between the two countries at the political level, and speaking of the cultural events such as the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, recalled her childhood memories associated with different communities in Sri Lanka.  She also expressed her commitment to working closely with the High Commission and the Group to facilitate links between Australia and Sri Lanka.

The Assistant Minister, Tim Watts shared his experiences during his brief visit to Sri Lanka last October to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association meeting. He spoke of the multicultural environment in Australia and the contribution made by the Sri Lankan expatriates who have made their home in Australia.  He further stated that Australia, while playing a role within the Asian Region would continue to be engaged in promoting links at the bilateral and regional level. 

The Assistant Minister briefly traced the long standing links with the Colombo Plan which is now the New Colombo Plan and Australia’s commitment to continue to work towards enhancing relations with Sri Lanka.

During the event, the High Commission screened showcased brief video clips on tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. At the conclusion of the formal function, the guests were treated to a sumptuous Sri Lankan dinner and Ceylon black tea.

Sri Lanka High Commission


7 June 2024

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