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Welcome to President Marcos

President Marcos, on behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian people, it is my very great pleasure to welcome you and the First Lady to our Parliament.

This is an historic occasion for both our democracies.

It is also the natural next step in our nations’ growing partnership.

The bilateral relationship between Australia and the Philippines is now 78 years old.

Our ties of trade and culture, friendship and family are centuries older.

In East Arnhem Land, the art and stories of the Yolngu people tell of their ancestors boarding visiting trading ships and sailing to far-off lands.

In every sense, Mr President, our peoples have been on a voyage together, for a very long time.

Australia and the Philippines are in the same boat and we share a vision for our destination: a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

We know the course to follow: strengthening our economic partnership through trade and investment.

Building on our connections in education and skills and creating more opportunities for our young people through the new work and holiday visa that we have agreed together.

Continuing our shared efforts in agriculture research.

And deepening our cooperation in defence, to support regional security.

This is the new level of engagement our Government is seeking between our two nations and indeed across ASEAN as a whole.

I know the Philippines is rightly proud of its place as one of the five founding members of ASEAN.

And all of us in Australia are looking forward to next week’s Special Summit in Melbourne, which will mark 50 years since Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner.

For Australia, ASEAN is central and it is essential.

And we want to continue to work closely with the Philippines and all our friends and partners in ASEAN, to promote the shared opportunity that drives our regional prosperity, and to fulfil our collective responsibility to uphold regional security.

Mr President, our nations share a determination to navigate the challenges of our time: climate change, food security, cybersecurity, counterterrorism and regional security.

The new Strategic Partnership you and I signed together in Manila last year speaks to our mutual trust and our common resolve.

I am pleased we are building on this momentum today.

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding for Enhanced Maritime Cooperation.

And agreeing to new initiatives in the key areas of digital technology and cybersecurity.

As our nations work together in this decisive decade for the Indo-Pacific, we can draw inspiration from our shared history.

In June 1943, when eight Australian servicemen escaped from their prisoner of war camp in Sandakan, they joined the Filipino resistance in their struggle against Japanese occupation.

In Palo, on Leyte, a memorial stands in honour of the 92 Australians who lost their lives in the liberation of the Philippines in 1944.

Our nations served and sacrificed together in Korea.

In 1999, the Philippines joined Australia in supporting independence for East Timor.

And in 2013, Australian defence personnel and medical mission teams returned to the Philippines to provide humanitarian assistance after Typhoon Yolanda.

That’s the spirit of Filipino bayanihan and Australian mateship: we work together and we care for each other.

Mr President, this connection and affection lives and thrives in the electorates of so many of the Members of Parliament you see here today.

Where members from all sides of politics have the privilege of representing the large and growing Filipino-Australian community, many of whom have joined us in the Parliament today.

People famous for their generosity, hospitality and love of family.

Renowned for their hard work and aspiration.

And always looking to give back to the community.

That’s just as true in my electorate in Sydney’s inner west as it is in the regions, like in Port Wakefield in South Australia.

Eighteen months ago, their local Country Fire Service was staring down the barrel of closure.

When the small band of volunteers put out a call for new recruits, they received only one response.

Samson Bucol, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines in 2014.

His dedication to duty won the respect and affection of his fellow volunteers and he soon passed the word to others.

Today, a quarter of the members of that Country Fire Service are of Filipino descent and half of the cadets.

Characteristic of the spirit of the Filipino diaspora that calls Australia home.

Mr President, you address us today as a leader in the region where, more than any other, Australia’s destiny lies.

And as we look to shape the future together, I’m reminded of something you said to me at our last meeting: prosperity and progress depend on peace.

That is what our Strategic Partnership recognises.

And that is what is so significant about the maritime cooperation activities our two navies completed together for the first time in November last year.

We are both island nations.

We are both trading nations.

And for both of us, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is not an abstract notion or a theoretical question.

Freedom of navigation is fundamental to our sovereignty, our prosperity, our security and our territorial integrity.

Our co-operation is an assertion of our national interest and a recognition of our regional responsibility.

It reflects our shared understanding that peace depends on more than the presence of the great powers.

All of us in the international community, middle powers like our countries, as well as small nations, have our part to play in building a more stable, peaceful and prosperous future.

President Marcos, to conclude on a personal note, I want to say how touched Jodie and I were by the kindness extended to us during our time in your wonderful country last year.

We were proud to host you at The Lodge last night, to begin your important visit.

And I know you will be warmly welcomed wherever you go in Australia.

Because all of us in this place, and indeed all Australians, are united in our respect for the contribution your nation and your people make to our region and our communities.

You honour us today and we look forward to your address.


This post was originally published on: Welcome to President Marcos | Prime Minister of Australia (

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