La France strengthens ties with Down Under

French president, Francois Hollande became the first chef of La France to visit Down Under when he stepped onto Australian soil for the world leaders’ meeting,G20 summit held in Brisbane last month .

Although his visit did not attract the same headlines as our vital Asian trading partners, India, China and Japan or Russian President Putin, President Holland snared publicity on a number of strategic occasions.

Hollande and host Prime Minister Tony Abbott conducted a solemn wreath-laying ceremony in Canberra to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I battles in France during 1914-1918 which was covered extensively by the media.

Australia’s French-speaking school in Canberra was also honoured with a visit from the president, who asked if anyone could speak French to see the whole classroom shoot up their hands.  However, what became painfully obvious during his visit to Tasmania, was that President Hollande could not speak English – an embarrassing fact for a leader of a major European country.

However, Australias- French-Australian business community embraced the visit of Hollande was accompanied by a delegation of French officials including Laurent Fabius, Minister for foreign affairs and CEOs of the top listed company representatives in France such as Safran, Thales, Servier and  DCNS.  One pf the major achievements of Hollande’s post G20 tour was when French-Australian business leaders officially presented La France Down Under a strategic document  to President Holland and Prime Minister Tony Abbott on November 19.

This event- the official welcome dinner for the French president, was attended by representatives of the French-Australian business community and was once again an occasion to discuss ways to further promote French investment in Australia and to raise awareness of Australian market opportunities for French companies. Special South Australian guests invited to the dinner were  South Australia’s honourary French Consul,  Mme Sue  Crafter.


Meanwhile, Merci Down Under has been officially launched with a VIP cocktail night in Perth at the Ballroom of the Governor’s House on Saturday 29 November, with its Patron, the international singing star Tina Arena, well known to audiences in France, leading a musical tribute to Australian servicemen and women.

Tina Arena travelled especially to Perth to attend this event. The performance launched a series of ‘Merci Down Under’ events – an expression of gratitude by the people of France for Australia’s efforts during the war…

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