This year the world celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations on October 24, 1945. In Australia the occasion was marked in Canberra with a flag raising ceremony jointly organised by UNIC Canberra with the United Nations Association of Australia, and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
With the Day’s theme of “Strong UN, better world” over 150 people gathered in King’s Hall of the Old Parliament House to show their support for the United Nations. Among the attendees were representatives of the diplomatic community, Australian government, defence force and police, as well as members of the civil society, non-governmental organisations, and members of the general public.
Speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister of Australia, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Hon Steven Ciobo MP reiterated Australia’s support for the Organization saying that “the UN is unique in having the legitimacy and convening power to bring together 193 Member States”.
Other distinguished speakers included Ngambri-Ngunnuwal Elder Ms Matilda House, Ms Daryl Karp Director of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Dr Chris Bourke MLA Member for Ginninderra, on behalf of the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, and Ambassador Pedro Raul Villagra Delgado, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of the Argentine Republic in Australia.
Before the commencement of the flag raising ceremony, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe, Director of the United Nations Information Centre Canberra read out the Secretary-General’s UN Day message, quoting that “National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world. But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us.”
Two United Nations flags were then ceremonially raised in front of the building by a joint flag party comprising of members of the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Federal Police. A reception followed with music provided by a woodwind quintet of the Band of the Royal Military College – Duntroon.
Concluding the evening, the Old Parliament House lit up in blue as part of the “Turning the World UN Blue” campaign, joining over 30 other sites in Australia and over 300 around the world to turn blue in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.