Washington, DC - Secretary of State John Kerry: "On behalf of President Obama and all Americans, I am honored to congratulate the people of Australia as you celebrate Australia Day, 228 years after the First Fleet sailed into the beautiful and now world-renowned Sydney Harbor, and over 100 years after the flourishing colonies on your continent came together as one nation.

"Over 75 years after we first established diplomatic relations, the United States has no better friend and ally than Australia. The alliance between our two Pacific nations, anchored on the bedrock of shared values and history, has nurtured and maintained peace, prosperity, and democracy in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

"The United States and Australia collaborate on a range of important commercial, academic, cultural, and environmental pursuits.

"The recently-concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an important opportunity to further deepen the trade and investment ties between our two countries. The United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council are working together to uncover new ways to understand, treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, autism, and epilepsy.

"We also work closely together on countering ISIL and terrorism worldwide, including efforts to address the challenge of foreign terrorist fighters and violent extremism. Australia will continue to be our indispensable partner as we face together, with optimism and firmness of purpose, the challenges and opportunities of 2016.

"Defense Secretary Ash Carter and I discussed a number of these issues when we hosted Foreign Minister Bishop and Defense Minister Payne in Boston last October for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations.

"And President Obama welcomed Prime Minister Turnbull as the first official visitor to the White House of 2016. Of course, I look forward to returning to Australia for AUSMIN later in the year.

"Happy Australia Day, and may the year ahead bring peace and prosperity to the Australian people and continued success and fortune to your great nation."