Australian PM says Pope Francis hopes to visit

CANBERRA (AP) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says newly installed Pope Francis hopes to travel Down Under.

She told Parliament on Wednesday that her government's representative to the installation Mass at the Vatican on Tuesday, former Governor-General Sir William Deane, had invited Pope Francis to become the fourth pope to visit Australia.

She added: "Pope Francis said he does hope to visit Australia and he expressed his warmest wishes to Australia and to its people."

Pope Benedict XVI made the last papal visit to Australia in July 2008.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.