President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping has praised Griffith University’s Emeritus Professor Colin Mackerras AO during an address to the Australian Federal Parliament.

President Xi spoke of his travels here and his enduring fondness for Australia.

“This is the fifth time I have set foot on this ancient and dynamic continent of Australia. Since my first visit in 1988, I have visited all five states and two territories of Australia except Tasmania,” President Xi said.

“Everywhere I have been, I have personally experienced the goodwill of the Australian people towards the Chinese people.”

President Xi made special mention of Emeritus Professor Colin MackerrasAO, from Griffith Business School’s Department of International Business and Asian Studies.

“I am delighted to see that Emeritus Professor Colin Mackerras, of Griffith University, is with us today. In 1964, Professor Mackerras went to China for the first time. Over the past five decades he has visited China over 60 times and has made tireless efforts to present a real China to Australia and the world based on his personal experience of China’s development and progress.

“It is worth mentioning that his son Stephen was the first Australian national born in China since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. With his unremitting efforts and devotion, Professor Mackerras has built a bridge of mutual understanding and amity between our people.

“Last September, he was conferred the Friendship Award by the Chinese government. Professor Mackerras, I wish to express deep appreciation to both you and many other Australians for what you have done to enhance the friendship between our two countries.

“As an old Chinese saying goes, the ocean is vast because it admits numerous rivers. It is the steady streams of mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples that have created the vast ocean of goodwill between China and Australia. I am greatly heartened by the immense support for China-Australia relations in both countries.”

Prime Minster Tony Abbott warmly welcomed the President Xi and Madam Peng.

“With free trade negotiations concluded and with a comprehensive strategic partnership established, this is a historic and memorable day,”Mr Abbott said.

“No Chinese President has ever known more about Australia than President Xi.”