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US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has told a packed audience at the University of Melbourne that the United States has no better friend than Australia.
The Asia Society and Asialink at the University hosted Sunday’s event – Hillary Rodham Clinton: An Australian Conversation – and guests included the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Australia’s Ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley.
Mrs Clinton, who is in Australia for the regular political, military and security talks between the Australian and US governments, spoke about US engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and the Australia–US relationship.
She said she was meeting young people during her tour of the Asia-Pacific because she "wanted America's outreach around the world to go beyond government halls.
"Today, in a time of such complex challenges, from climate change to nuclear proliferation, the world needs nations like ours that accept the responsibility of working together to solve shared problems.
"The leadership of countries like Australia and America, and the strength of the alliance which binds us is more important now than ever, not only regionally but globally as well."
Mrs Clinton also touched on several topics on which she said the US and Australia would work together, including climate change, women's empowerment, health, education and sustainable economic development.
She then answered questions from the audience which ranged from gay marriage and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan to the ways in which she relaxes.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said it was a special honour to welcome an outstanding global policy maker and leader to the campus.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity for us all, both to hear from and to engage in dialogue with Secretary Rodham Clinton," he said.
"It is an event each of us will undoubtedly long remember."
To view this event go to: