Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Mary Anne A. Padua hosted a luncheon in honor of the Philippine delegates to the Australia-Philippines Political Exchange Program.
Hon. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, representing the Bagong Henerasyon Partylist, led the 5th Philippine delegation to the Program. Their visit to Australia from 19 - 26 February 2011 covered visits to Sydney, Canberra, Hobart and Melbourne. Activities during their visit included courtesy calls on Special Minister of State and Special Minister of State for Public Service and Integrity Gary Gray, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials, a meeting with Philippine Consul to Sydney J. Anthony Reyes, briefings on the Australian electoral system, the Australian taxation system and the various Australian political parties, a tour of the University of New South Wales (USW) and informal discussions with Filipino students in USW, and meetings with officials of the Government of Tasmania.
Underlining the importance of people-to-people links, the Philippines and Australia first proposed the institution of a regular exchange between their politicians during the inaugural Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting held in Sydney in August 2005. The signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine Council of Young Political Leaders (PCYPL) and Australian Political Exchange Council (APEC) in September 2005 sealed the deal for the exchanges to push through.