SPEECH - FEDERATION CHAMBER - PERTH PHILIPPINE COMMUNITY

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SPEECH

Mr HAMMOND (Perth) (11:53):  It is a great privilege to rise to support this motion moved by the member for Chifley. Not only does he have a better jump shot than me on the basketball court but his command of Tagalog is also much better than mine—but I will do my best with a very exuberant 'Mabuhay!', cross my fingers and see how we go. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Ambassador Her Excellency Minda Calaguian-Cruz and the ACT consul general, Ms Nina Cainglet. It is lovely to be in your presence today. I join those members from the western suburbs of Sydney, who have a predominant, very vibrant and diverse contingent of people from the Philippines in their electorates. I also join with the celebration on the western side of the country.

There are about 20,000 Philippines-born people living in Western Australia, and there is an incredibly vibrant and active community in my electorate of Perth. Indeed, I had to give my apologies a few weeks ago to the Filipino Australian Multicultural Association dinner to celebrate the Philippines independence day as a result of physically not being able to be in two places on two sides of the country at once. But I made up for it in the year before, again with the member for Chifley—we are spending so much time together these days people might start talking! He accompanied me—

An honourable member interjecting—

Mr HAMMOND:  That is perhaps right; keep talking! He accompanied me, I am pleased to say, on 12 June 2016 in the course of a very busy federal campaign to celebrate the declaration of independence from Spanish colonial rule in 1898. We had a wonderful dinner with the Filipino community in my hometown of Perth.

Of course, as we know, the declaration itself refers to a series of events stretching all the way back to Ferdinand Magellan, famed in Western history for circumnavigating the globe, whom the declaration disavows in an instrument of bloody colonial subjugation. Of course, Magellan did not complete hiscircumnavigation; it was concluded by one of his officers. He was killed in the Battle of Mactan. Even after 350 years of Spanish colonial rule the Filipino people and their unique culture have survived and thrived both at home and in Perth.

I would like to convey my gratitude to those in the Filipino Australian Multicultural Association back home in WA, Anita Kinkela and the entire Famas team, for what they do for our local Perth Filipino community and indeed for the community more broadly. They raise an enormous amount of money for charity and each year they hold a wonderful Christmas lunch for people experiencing homelessness and seniors without families.

This motion goes to the strong diplomatic relationship between Australia and the Philippines, which has now lasted for 70 years. Diplomatic contact began in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, when Ben Chifley—after whom the member for Chifley's seat is named—led Australia's post-war recovery and our nation's first steps in the new world order that emerged. At the same time, the Philippines were emerging from the authority of American rule to which it has been subject since Spain ceded the colony to the United States in the Treaty of Paris in 1898.

Here we find ourselves, two very close neighbours, both shaking off our colonials pasts to make sure that we all take our places acting on the world stage, leading by example and by conduct and celebrating ethnicity, diversity and all of the wonderful things it has to offer. The relationship is close enough to sustain seven consulates in the state and territory capitals as well as the embassy in Canberra. I note that the Philippines Consulate-General in Perth is temporarily closed, and I very much look forward to its reopening very shortly.

Whenever I have the honour of attending a Filipino community event I am struck by the fabric of the strength of the community in Western Australia. The community knows how to look after each other, how to look after others and how to create a true sense of community. They also really know how to throw a party. This year, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first Philippines diplomatic office in Australia it is a true privilege to be part of the party and part of this motion. I commend the motion to the House. Once again, mabuhay!