President Tony Tan Keng Yam on state visit to Australia

SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan Keng Yam begins a six-day state visit to Australia on Sunday.

The trip is at the invitation of Australia's Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday.

Dr Tan, accompanied by his wife Mary, will make three stops in the country.

The visit kicks off in the capital city of Canberra, where Dr Tan will receive a ceremonial welcome and be hosted to a state lunch by Sir Cosgrove.

President Tan will also meet Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory Katy Gallagher, and stop by the National Arboretum and the Australian War Memorial to lay a wreath.

In Adelaide, Dr Tan will meet with Governor of South Australia Kevin Scarce, and Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill.

He will also be conferred an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the University of Adelaide.

The Singapore delegation then travels to Perth. There, Dr Tan will meet Governor of Western Australia Malcolm McCusker and the state's Premier Colin Barnett, who will host him to a reception with Singaporeans based there.

Perth is home to the largest community of Singaporeans in Australia, with some 14,000 currently living there.

Dr Tan will also visit the Republic of Singapore Air Force Pearce Detachment before flying home next Friday.

Accompanying President and Mrs Tan are Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew and his wife Lui Soo Fen, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, MPs Ms Foo Mee Har and Mr Alex Yam and MFA officials.

While President Tan is away, Speaker of Parliament Madam Halimah Yacob will exercise functions of the President's Office from June 15 to 18, a statement from the President's Office said.

Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers Mr J Y Pillay will take over those duties on June 19 and June 20.