Monday, 22 February 2021
Statements by Members
One of the privileges of the position I hold is that I am the co-chair, along with the member for Solomon, of the Parliamentary Friends of the Philippines. Last week I had the great pleasure of hosting the ambassador, Hellen De La Vega, for a quiet meeting in the house. Unfortunately, the member for Solomon couldn't join us at the time. We were discussing the approaching 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between our two countries—since 1946, in fact. That will occur on 22 May, and it may well be that I'll take the opportunity on that day to raise this issue again. I made the point to the ambassador that the Filipino diaspora play such an important part in Australia's modern make-up. There are over 294,000 Filipinos living in Australia. As I said to the ambassador, Filipinos make great Australians. They make great Australians because we have such a shared cultural and moral base. They come here with high levels of English-speaking capability, and that is a great advantage if you come to Australia to live and work. By and large, they come from a Christian country. They value family highly, and they have a respect for civil law and order. So I look forward to this day coming up in May, and I look forward to working with the ambassador and marking it in an appropriate manner at that time.