On this date, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress
in the House Chamber. Howard had originally been scheduled to appear before Congress on September 12, 2001, but the address was postponed due to the terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Since Howard’s visit marked the first Joint Meeting since September 11, access privileges for the House Floor were restricted to Members of Congress and select administration officials, excluding family members and staff. Following longstanding tradition, Cabinet members and the officials from the Diplomatic Corps attended the event. As only the second Australian Prime Minister to address a Joint Meeting, Howard stressed the close relations between his nation and the United States, built upon a foundation of shared Western culture: “A belief that the individual is more important than the state; a belief that strong families are a nation’s greatest resource…and a belief that decency and hard work define a person’s worth, not class or race or social background.” He then turned to the events of September 11, 2001, and the war in Afghanistan. He pledged the continued support of Australian soldiers and invoked a Cold War-era security pact among Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (ANZUS) for the first time.