Australia–Philippines relations

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Australian-Filipino relations
Map indicating locations of Philippines and Australia



Australia–Philippines relations are the political, economic, and cultural relations between Australia and the Philippines. Australia has an embassy in Manila. The Philippines has an embassy in Canberra and a consulate general in Sydney.


Significant numbers of Filipinos immigrated to Australia between the 1960s and the 1990s and Filipinos remain one of the fastest growing immigrant communities in Australia. At the 2006 Census, 160,000 Australians claimed Filipino ancestry, up from 129,000 in 2001.[1]


Monthly value of Australian merchandise exports to the Philippines (A$ millions) since 1988
Monthly value of Philippine merchandise exports to Australia (A$ millions) since 1988

In 2000, the two countries had a trade dispute over the importation of Philippine bananas. In response, the Philippine Government banned the import of Australian beef for 6 months.[2][3]

In October 2008, Australia's trade minister, Simon Crean, said that the past decade has been one of lost opportunities in the country's relations with the Philippines. He stated while two way trade had grown by 17 per cent over the past decade it had expanded 130 per cent with the regional bloc Association of South East Asian Nations.[4]

Mr Crean said that bilateral trade in 2007 totalled $US2.5 billion dollars, but Australian trade with south-east Asia as a whole reached $71 billion. He further stated that Australia and the Philippines worked closely together in helping to conclude the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement "which has the potential to deliver significant commercial gains to both countries and more broadly throughout the region."[4]

Defense and security[edit]

In 2002, citing "credible and specific information" regarding a terrorist attack following the Bali bombings, the Australian Government decided to move its embassy in Manila.[5]

In 2005, Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill said Australia had indicated to the Philippines Government that it would like to help build its counter-terrorism capability.[6] Hill said that Australia would consider supplying long range patrol vehicles and small boats to the Philippines armed forces to fight terrorists and that the "Philippines government was greatly concerned about terrorists moving north up the archipelago and into Mindanao, receiving sanctuary and perhaps establishing training camps ... but the Philippines military was short on both skills and equipment needed to counter that peril." [7]

In 2006, the Australian Defense Force was providing training to 60 Filipino soldiers in Australia every year.[8]

Status of forces agreement[edit]

A status of forces agreement, setting terms under which a foreign military operates in a host country, would create the legal framework for a regular, though small-scale, Australian military presence.[9] In 2005, the Defence Minister Robert Hill said that Australia was limited in aiding the Philippines with on the ground troops saying, "At the moment we are restrained by the Philippine constitution. We can't go much further than we are at the moment, without a status of forces agreement. We're in the process of negotiating that. We'll be the second country after the United States to have such an agreement with the Philippines, and that will then allow us to, for example, conduct higher end training, or joint exercises with the Philippine armed forces." [10]

During President Gloria Arroyo's visit to Australia from May 30–31, 2007, a bilateral Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) was signed by Australia and the Philippines.[1] The Philippine Senate ratified the SOVFA on July 24, 2012.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Republic of the Philippines Country Brief - April 2009, Government of Australia.
  2. ^ Australia, Philippines settle trade dispute,, July 3, 2000.
  4. ^ a b[dead link]
  5. ^ Australia plans 'fortress' embassies, CNN, December 25, 2002.
  6. ^ Brendan Nicholson, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Adelaide. (2005, November 18). Canberra helps Manila's assault on Muslim rebels; War On Terror - The Region :[First Edition]. The Age,p. 5. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from ProQuest ANZ Newsstand. (Document ID: 927623561).
  7. ^ Hill considers Philippine boat supply, The Age, October 19, 2005.
  8. ^ Australia offers to train troops in the Philippines, ABC News, August 25, 2006.
  9. ^ Peter Alford and Patrick Walters, Manila defence pact close, The Australian, May 12, 2007.
  10. ^ Alexandra Kirk, Aust lines up Philippines terrorism agreement, The World Today, 19 October 2005.
  11. ^ "Senate ratifies military agreement with Australia that permits visiting troops". GMA News Online. July 24, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012. 

External links[edit]