POLO Services and Notice

Overview of Relations

The Philippines and Australia enjoy a warm and active relationship that began with the marketing of Australian fresh bottled milk in Manila in the late 1800s. Philippines-born migrants that comprise at least 1% of Australia's total population further strengthen bilateral relations.

Diplomatic relations commenced in 1948, with the establishment of a Philippine Legation in Sydney. Australia accredited the first Philippine Ambassador to the country in 1956.

There are currently 120 agreements aimed at promoting political, security, economic and socio-cultural linkages and cooperation. The two countries also established institutional linkages and dialogues to expand and deepen the relationship.

In 1995, the Embassy initiated the awarding of Philippine Liberation Medals to Australian servicemen for their participation in the World War II liberation campaign of the Philippines. More than 3,000 ex-servicemen have received these medals which serve as a symbol of close relation.

Statistics show that the Philippines is Australia's largest market for dairy products (milk and cream), taking 1.4% of Australia's total dairy exports to the world. On the other hand, computers and computer parts continue to dominate Philippine exports to Australia.

At the regional and multilateral level, the Philippines and Australia cooperate actively through such forums as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia and Pacific Economic Community (APEC), the Forum for East Asia and Latin American Cooperation (FEALAC), ASEAN/AFTA-CER Close Economic Partnership, the Cairns Group, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations. Both countries cooperated closely in the early implementation of the APEC Business Card and the engagement of the private sector in APEC.

Former President Fidel V Ramos was the first Philippine President to visit Australia in 1995. The visit resulted in the publication of an article in the nationwide daily The Australian entitled "The Philippines: Australia's Natural Ally" by Foreign Editor Mr.Greg Sheridan).

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Tim Fischer visited the Philippines soon after he took office in March 1996. Prime Minister John Howard, accompanied by Mr. Fischer and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, attended the 4th APEC Summit in the Philippines in November 1996 that provided the opportunity for bilateral talks between the two countries.

To address the lack of updated information on the Philippine economy, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer launched on 04 May 1998 a study commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) entitled "The Philippines: Beyond the Crisis".

In November 1998, Australia greeted the Philippines and participated in the celebration of its Centennial of Independence by implementing an Australian promotion called "All the Best, from Australia". It featured business forums and seminars, sectoral business missions, science and technology exhibitions, cultural shows (participated in by Filipino-Australian pop singer Kate Ceberano), a film festival, sports program, food and wine festival and a naval ship visit.

In Australia, the Philippine Centennial was celebrated nationwide with a travelling exhibition of Philippine contemporary prints restored by the National Gallery of Victoria. Then Governor General Sir William Deane and Lady Deane opened the exhibition at the High Court in Canberra entitled "Hurry Up and Wait".

As a return gesture during the Centenary of Australian Federation, the Philippine Embassy organised in February 2001 a cultural festival called Filipina Fusion. The Festival, featuring prominent Filipino designers and Filipino-Australian artists, comprised three parts: a visual art exhibit, literary/poetry reading and a textiles and jewellery art exhibit.

In March 2003, the late Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Blas Ople visited Australia to sign the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism.

In July 2003, Prime Minister John Howard made a State Visit to the Philippines, his first since becoming Prime Minister in 1996. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation against Transnational Crime. Mr Howard pledged A$5 million to fund joint projects aimed at fighting terrorism and transnational crime.

In April 2004, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia Domingo Albert visited Australia to continue Philippines-Australia dialogue on bilateral and regional matters of mutual concern.


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