President Barack Obama (POTUS) arrived in town yesterday with his entourage of 200+ Secret Service Officers, 50 personal staff and over 100 members of the media. He came without First Lady, Michelle, (FLOTUS) on what can best be described as a 'flying visit' on the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty.
(For those who do not know, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America - ANZUS - signed a treaty back in 1951 which, essentially says, if one is attacked the other two will come to their aid!)
Barack Obama had them rolling in the aisles as he gave some Aussie slang a burl at a state dinner held in his honour last night. Mr Obama told diners that he had a "real chin-wag" with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and that it wasn't just "a lot of ear-bashing". He liked the Aussie term 'ear bashing' - essentially meaning someone who talks incessantly at you without letting you get a word in sideways - and he'll put it to good use when he returns home to the United States
If you missed the president's speech, no worries, she'll be right, you can watch it here: Obama in Australia
China and Indonesia have questioned the wisdom of Australia hosting US Marines in the Northern Territory, with claims the move risks creating a "circle of tension and mistrust". Up to 2,500 US Marines will be stationed in Darwin by 2017 under a new agreement announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US president Barack Obama in Canberra yesterday. Initially the deal will see just 250 US Marines based in Darwin on six-month rotations, but the overall numbers will be built up over time.
The marines will be stationed on an Australian military base and will not create a US base on Australian soil. Essentially they will come on 'rotation' and make use of Australia's tropical regions for extended training and army games against Australian troops. A squadron of Australia's elite SAS will also be sent to the Northern Territory to participate in the joint military training operations.
Word is that the marines will be tasked to locate and capture the SAS patrols in the Australian outback - Good luck to the marines.
Marines with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, join the massive clean-up of remote Oshima island in Japan, April 4.//31st MEU photo
Barack Obama also stated that the Marines would be ready for humanitarian aid deployment, as they were in Japan after the Tsunami struck causing national devastation.