3029) Armenian-Australian Community & Armenian Genocide Commemorative Week in Australia April 2010 Schedule

  1. Armenian-Australian Community
  2. Armenia-Australia Government Relations
  3. April 2010 Schedule - Armenian Genocide Commemorative Week in Australia
  4. This Year's Guest Speaker Seto Boyadjian, Political Analyst, Former ANCA Executive Director
  5. ANC Australia responds to Turkish Ambassador address to Jewish Forum
  6. Turkish Ambassador Speaks To Canberra Group
  7. Growing calls for Armenian Genocide recognition in Australia
  8. McKew clearly acknowledges Armenian Genocide in Parliament
. .

Armenian-Australian Community
The Armenian community in Australia is estimated to be 50,000 people who primarily reside in Sydney and Melbourne. In both Sydney and Melbourne, communities have established a number of organisations that cater for the educational, cultural, sport and welfare needs of the community.

The first Armenians migrated to Australia from Asia in the 1850s, during the gold rush and later from their homeland due to political upheaval and other tragic events such as the 1896 massacres, the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the Second World War.

However, the majority came to Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, from the Middle-East starting with the Armenians of Egypt after Nasser came to power. Then, from Cyprus after the Turkish occupation of the island, later from Lebanon and Syria due to civil unrest and from Iran as a result of the country’s political upheaval.

In the early 1990s, a small number migrated to Australia to escape the hardships in Armenia caused by the combination of the collapse of Soviet Union, the devastating Armenian earthquake of 1988 and the Azerbaijani aggression in Nagorno Karabakh.

The Sydney Armenian community numbers at about 40,000 people and has cultural centres, three day schools, a weekly newspaper and churches. The Melbourne Armenian community, numbering upward of 10,00, has cultural centres, a Saturday language school and a church.

The Armenian-Australian community’s contribution to aspects of Australian life outweighs its size. The community takes pride in the significant contributions that have been recoreded in politics, business, academia, sports and culture.

Armenia-Australia Government Relations
Australia recognised The Republic Armenia on 26 December 1991 and person-to-person governmental links have been steadily increasing since the diplomatic relations were established on 15 January 1992.

In July 2000, the Armenian Minister for Sport and Culture Mr Roland Sharoyan visited Sydney during the 2000 Olympic Games. This was reciprocated in September 2003, when The Hon Mr Philip Ruddock MP visited Armenia in his former capacity as Australian Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.

More recently then-Armenian Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr Vartan Oskanian, visited Australia in October of 2005 and in November that same year, The Hon Mr Joe Hockey MP, Minister for Human Services, visited Armenia.

Armenian Australians (Wikipedia)
Armenian Australians Total population 50,000 [1]
Regions with significant populations Sydney, Melbourne

Armenian, Russian and Australian English

Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Evangelical and Protestant

Armenian groups
The Armenian diaspora in Australia has become one of the key Armenian diasporas around the world and amongst the largests in the English world. While the Armenian community in Australia is amongst the youngest of all diasporas, Australia’s economic prosperity over the past decade has attracted a large number of skilled Armenian migrants. The official relationship between Australia and Armenia started on 26 December 1991, and diplomatic relations were established on 15 January 1992.[2]

* 1 Brief overview
* 2 Cultural centers
* 3 Education
* 4 Religion
* 5 Notable Armenian Australians
* 6 References
* 7 External links

Brief overview
The influx of Armenians into Australia has come from many different Diaspora countries; these countries include Armenia, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Turkey and India[2]. In the mid 1800s a group of Armenians settled in the south-western region of Victoria which then became the City of Ararat in search of valuable commodities such as gold.

Today the Austral-Armenian community includes members born in up to and over 43 different countries. The estimated Armenian community size is about 50,000 mostly residing in Sydney, with about 8,000 in Melbourne. The main concentration of Armenians in Sydney are in the City of Ryde (12,000 - 15,000) followed by City of Willoughby [1] and City of Warringah. Smaller communities exist in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Australians of Armenian heritage are well known in Sydney and now hold an annual festival in the CBD each year which attracts over 25,000 visitors and is the second largest cultural festival behind the Greek festival.

Increasingly Australians of Armenian heritage are being recognized for their success in Politics, Banking & Finance and Law. Armenians of Australia are exceptionally well regarded and recognized in the Jewelry industry and many avenues of trade.

Below are some of the operating organisations within the Armenian Australian community:

* Armenian General Benevolent Union
* SBS Armenian Radio[3]
* Armenian Chamber of Commerce in Australia[4]
* Social Democratic Hunchakian Party[5]
* Homenetmen Australia[6]
* Hye Hoki[7]
* Armenian Revolutionary Federation
* Armenian Youth Federation of Australia[8]
* Hamazkayin Regional Committee breaking down into sub-divisions/committees.[9][10]
* Armenian National Committee of Australia[11]

Cultural centers
In Sydney there are several main cultural centers to which Armenians gather, one located in Willoughby, New South Wales named the Armenian Cultural Centre and another located in Bonnyrigg, New South Wales[12] named the Armenian Cultural Panoyan Centre, and smaller Cultural Centres in Neutral Bay, City of Ryde, Frenchs Forest (Ararat Reserve) and Naremburn, Sydney. Melbourne also has several cultural centres.

Armenian is an accepted language in the NSW HSC also known as Armenian Continuers the course is taught at Saturday schools or as a subject at full time Armenian schools.

Armenian Schooling has become stronger throughout the Australian community with 3 fulltime schools operating in sydney, these are:
* Hamazkaine Arshak & Sophie Galstauan School[13]
* St Gregory's Armenian School[14]
* A.G.B.U. Alexander Primary School[15]

Alongside which a number of Saturday schools operate as listed below:
* Toumanian Armenian Saturday School[10]
* A.G.B.U. Alexander Primary School[15]
* Tarkmanchatch Armenian Saturday School
* Serop Papazian Armenian Saturday School

The most prominent church in the Armenian community in Australia and throughout the world [16] is the Armenian Apostolic Church, lead by Archbishop Aghan Baliozian who is the Primate of the Australian and New Zealand Armenian Apostolic churches. Catholicism led by Father Parsegh (Basil) Sousanian is also a part of Austral-Armenian religions alongside the Armenian Evangelical Church. Also part of the Armenia-linked religion evident in Australia is the newly founded Armenian Brotherhood Bible Church of Australia also known as the Armenian Brotherhood Holy Trinity Church.[17]

* The Armenian Apostolic Church is located in Chatswood, New South Wales[18].
* The Armenian Catholic Church can located in Lidcombe, New South Wales[19].
* The Armenian Evangelical Church can located in Willoughby, New South Wales.
* The Armenian Brotherhood Holy Trinity Church is located in Ryde, New South Wales[20].

Notable Armenian Australians
The Austral Armenian community has shaped many notable figure throughout the community which have become key members who shape the identity of Armenians in Australia. Below are a few of these members.

* Joe Hockey (Family Name "Hokeidonian") - Member of Federal Parliament Shadow Treasurer
* Gladys Berejiklian- Member of Parliament, Shadow Minister for Transport, Shadow Minister for Citizenship.[21]
* Clr Sarkis Yedelian- Deputy Mayor of Ryde, New South Wales.[22]
* Archbishop Aghan Baliozian- Primate of Australian and New Zealand Armenian Apostolic Church.[23]
* Vic Darchinyan - IBO Super flyweight world title holder
* George Donikian - Network Ten news presenter
* Brian Goorjian - Regarded as Australia's most successful basketball coach
* Slava Grigoryan - classical guitarist, two time ARIA winner
* Yurik Sarkisian - Two time World Champion Weightlifter, set 17 world records during his career
* Michael Carapiet - Executive Director of Macquarie Bank residing in Sydney
* Stephan Kerkysharian - Chairman of the NSW Ethnic Affairs
* Zareh Nalbandian - Co-founder of Animal Logic , creator of "Happy Feet"
* Artin Etmekjian - Councillor - City of Ryde
* Dr Karen Mekertichian - Vice-President - Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry

1. ^ Armenian National Committee of Australia
2. ^ a b Armenia Country Brief
3. ^ SBS Radio - Armenian
4. ^ Armenian Chamber of Commerce in Australia Website
5. ^ Social Democrat Hunchakian Party
6. ^ Homenetmen Australia Regional Website
7. ^ Hye Hoki
8. ^ AYF.ORG Home
9. ^ Hamazkaine Arshak & Sophie Galstaun School
10. ^ a b Hamazkaine Nairi Chapter & Homenetmen Ararat Branch - Home
11. ^ Armenian National Committee of Australia
12. ^ Armenian Info & Portal Web Site
13. ^ HASG_NewsEvents
14. ^ St Gregory's Armenian School, K-12 Primary and High School, Sydney, Australia
15. ^ a b Saturday School
16. ^ Armenians#Religion
17. ^ 1266.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), 1996
18. ^ CNEWA – The Armenian Apostolic Church
19. ^ Our Lady of the Assumption - Armenian Catholic Church - Sydney Australia
20. ^ This page contains addresses of all Armenian Brotherhood Churches Around the World
21. ^ Ms Gladys BEREJIKLIAN, BA, DIntS, MCom MP - NSW Parliament
22. ^ Sarkis Yedelian
23. ^ Aghan Baliozian - Armeniapedia.org

* http://www.agbu.org.au
* http://www.anc.org.au
* http://www.armenianchamber.com.au
* http://www.armenian.org.au/
* http://www.homenetmen.com.au/
* http://www.ararat.org.au/
* http://www.nareg.com.au/stg

April 2010 Schedule - Armenian Genocide Commemorative Week in Australia

The Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee has released the schedule of events to commemorate the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Sydney and Melbourne.

Saturday, 17th April
NSW Western Region Commemoration Evening
7:30pm, Armenian Catholic Church, 5 John Street, Lidcombe NSW

Sunday, 18th April
Protest against Armenian Genocide denial
1-2pm, Turkish Consulate, 66 Ocean St, Woollahra NSW

Tuesday, 20th April
Panel Discussion: Recognition in light of Protocols
7pm, Urban Hotel, 194 Pacific Highway (cnr Bellevue Avenue & Pacific Highway), St Leonards NSW

Thursday, 22nd April
Wreath Laying Ceremony & Armenian Genocide Commemorative Lecture
7pm, NSW State Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW
(NOTE: Buses departing from Ararat Scout Hall - Quarry Road Ryde, and Armenian Cultural Centre - Penshurst St Willoughby at 6:15pm )

Friday, 23rd April
Melbourne Commemoration Evening
7:30pm, St Judes Community Centre, 49 George Street, Scoresby VIC

Saturday, 24th April
Sydney Commemoration Evening
7pm, Macquarie Theatre, Macquarie University, NSW

Ryde Council Memorial, 3pm, Meadow Crescent, Meadowbank NSW

This Year's Guest Speaker for events from the 20th to 24th of April in Sydney and Melbourne will be:
Mr. Seto Boyadjian, ESQ
Political Analyst
Former Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)

Seto Boyadjian in Australia for Armenian Genocide Commemoration Week
© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com
SYDNEY: Political Analyst Seto Boyadjian (ESQ) has been confirmed as the guest of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee to keynote next month's 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide events in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

An attorney at law by day, California-based Boyadjian was formerly the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), and will arrive in Australia fresh from commentating on the Armenia-Turkey Protocols and the passing of a resolution on the Armenian Genocide by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Varant Meguerditchian of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee said: "Seto is in a lead group of Political Analysts who has a firm understanding of the Armenia-Turkey Protocols and we are lucky to be able to share his company this April.

"As ANC America Executive Director in Washington, he was tasked with garnering support for Armenian Genocide recognition in the most dynamic political arena in the world."

He added: "Seto brings his knowledge and political experience to share with the Armenian-Australian community and the wider public."

The Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee confirmed details of the official COMMEMORATION EVENING which will have Boyadjian as keynote speaker, while further details of Commemoration week will be released in coming days and weeks.

Saturday, 24th April
Commemoration Evening
7:00pm, Macquarie Theatre, Macquarie University, NSW
Keynote Speaker: Mr. Seto Boyadjian, ESQ

ANC Australia responds to Turkish Ambassador address to Jewish Forum
JWIRE.com.au: Earlier this week, the Turkish Ambassador to Australia Oguz Ozge addressed the Capital Jewish Forum in Canberra and spoke of the 1915 Armenian genocide. The Armenian community has responded to his remarks via Armenian National Committee of Australia President Mr. Varant Meguerditchian (See below for Ozge's address).

J-Wire would like to establish two points before publishing the response.

1. Comments published on this site may have been moderated by J-Wire but they do not necessarily reflect J-Wire's viewpoint. We are strictly a news service and do not publish op-eds although we may publish articles written by highly-informed writers.

2. We are a Jewish Australian and New Zealand news website. The Turkish-Armenian issue is not within our topic boundaries. We publish the Armenian response purely as an act of responsible journalism offering a level playing field to those with opposing views. Any further comments on this issue should be addressed to a more appropriate forum.

The response from the Armenian community:

From Varant Meguerditchian
Armenian National Committee of Australia Inc

We write to you in reference to the recently posted article ‘Turkish Ambassador speaks to Canberra group'. The article primarily touches upon a visit by members of the CJF to the Turkish Embassy in Canberra whereby the members of the Jewish Community were introduced to aspects of Turkish culture. The article also includes the denial of the Armenian Genocide in a speech delivered by the Turkish Ambassador to those present at the reception.

We want to underscore that it is not just Armenians who are affirming the Armenian Genocide but it is hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades. The scholarly evidence reveals the following:

On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens - an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. Another million fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years.

The Armenian Genocide is corroborated by the international scholarly, legal, and human rights community:

1) Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined the term genocide in 1944, cited the Turkish extermination of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination of the Jews as defining examples of what he meant by genocide.

2) The killings of the Armenians is genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

3) In 1997 the International Association of Genocide Scholars, an organization of theworld's foremost experts on genocide, unanimously passed a formal resolution affirming the Armenian Genocide.

4) 126 leading scholars of the Holocaust including Elie Wiesel and Yehuda Bauer placed a statement in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the "incontestable fact of the Armenian Genocide" and urging western democracies to acknowledge it.

5) The Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), the Institute for the Study of Genocide (NYC) have affirmed the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.

6) Leading texts in the international law of genocide such as William A. Schabas's Genocide in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000) cite the Armenian Genocide as a precursor to the Holocaust and as a precedent for the law on crimes against humanity.

7) Lead Genocide Scholars in Australia including Prof. Colin Tatz, Prof. Robert Manne, Dr. Paul Bartrop and Dr. Donna-Lee Frieze have studied and produced scholarly works affirming the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide. The Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies based at the University of NSW, Shalom College is each year, host to an ‘Armenian Genocide Commemorative Lecture'.

(Following Content is No Longer Online At J-Wire, Jewish Online News from Australia and New Zealand)
Turkish Ambassador Speaks To Canberra Group, March 17, 2010

Turkey’s ambassador to Australia Oguz Ozge has addressed the Capital Jewish Forum.

Manny Waks, Ambassador Oguz Ozge and Umut Ozturk

More than thirty CJF members, from diverse professional backgrounds, watched a tourism film on the sights and sounds of Turkey and then heard Ambassador Ozge speak on the ‘Turkey-Israel relationship in the Middle East and global context’ at the Turkish Embassy in Canberra. The Embassy also generously offered CJF members local Turkish delicacies, including Turkish delights, beer and coffee.

Ambassador Ozge’s speech:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome members of the Capital Jewish Forum. I am delighted to address such a distinguished audience. I believe the discussions we are about to hold will contribute to a better understanding of our respective views on matters of interest to us.

I intend to make a short introductory statement and later shall be ready to take your questions.

At the outset I wish to make a few remarks: The Turkish-Israeli relations are based on a long-lasting friendship between the Turks and Jews. Actually the relationship precedes the establishment of the State of Israel. At present Turkey and Israel are natural partners in the Middle East. They uphold the same universal values and ideals. Our countries are in fact the only true liberal democracies in the region with market economies in place. We in Turkey attach importance to the security. We are aware that a comprehensive peace in the region would be the best security guaranty for Israel.

The developments that take place in the Middle East usually have an effect on our bilateral relationship. We may expect this correlation to continue for as long as the problems in the Middle East persist I am convinced that the periodic ups and downs that occur in the Turkish-Israeli relations will in no way cause any harm to the essence of our friendly ties, nor will alter the course of our deep-rooted partnership in the region. The two nations have so far been able to overcome those periodic difficulties. I can say therefore that the ties between the two communities have stood the test of time well.

Over the centuries the Ottoman Empire, to which the Turkish Republic is a successor state, served as a major place of refuge for people suffering from persecution, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Starting in the fourteenth century , the Ottomans captured lands of the Byzantine empire in Anatolia. Curiously, the Jewish minorities, who survived centuries of Byzantine persecution, helped the Ottomans so that their administration would offer the Jewish a better life and in particular more freedom and tolerance. In later centuries the Ottoman Empire received approximately 150 thousand Jewish refugees who were under the threat of Christian attacks in western Europe. This includes above all, those Jews who fled from persecution at the hands of the inquisition in the Iberian Peninsula and Italy during the 15th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Ottomans gave refuge to thousands of Marranos. Actually they were Jews converted to Christianity in Spain under the force of the Inquisition, but who had continued to be subject to persecution because of suspicions that they had not in fact abandoned their former religions. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Ottomans provided refuge for many Jews who survived the Habsburg invasion of Serbia and Bulgaria following the failure of the second siege of Vienna in 1683 by the Ottomans. Lastly, I would like mention that after the establishment of the Turkish Republic and particularly during the 1930’s, the Turkish authorities took in hundreds of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution, including leading professors, teachers, physicians, and artists and given senior positions. Most were appointed to major professorships in Istanbul and Ankara Universities. Others were given the opportunity to found and direct important scientific institutes. In addition, during the same period a number of Turkish diplomats helped a few thousand Jews, mostly former Turkish nationals, in order to rescue them through consular intervention from persecution in several European countries.

During the 19th century, jewish immigration to Palestine and eventually to establish a Jewish homeland there was a topic on which intense debate raged in Europe, particularly in the British and French public. From the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire adopted a policy of allowing a reasonable amount of jewish immgration to Palestine despite the opposition of its Arab subjects. Thus, from 1882 to1903 some 25.000, 1904 to 1914 roughly 30000 and 1919 to 1922 nearly 40000 jews, mainly from Russia and Poland were able to settle in Palestine.

The Turkish Parliament formally recognised the state of Israel on 28 March 1949, being the first muslim state to do so just after one year ot Israel’s establishment. Since then bilateral relations between the two countries have developed consistently, with interaction in the political, economic, scientific and military fields having priority.

I would like to touch upon the so-called Genocide allegations against Turkey as, the term of genocide may be of interest to you. The Armenian diaspora alleges that in 1915, during World War I, 1.5 million Armenians living across the Ottoman lands were subjected to genocidal treatment. The documents and photos that they pass around as evidence are largely exagerated or manipulated. We have made available to those of you who are interested, a copy of an article by an Australian scholar Mr. Jeremy Salt, about a forged photo in a book titled, published by Oxford University Press, a renowned British publishing house.

We must remember the circumstances in which the Turkish army wages a fierce war Armenian against the Russian army on its Eastern territories and the Armenian bands armed with the Russia attacked the Turk?sh army on one hand and rose in rebellion on the other with a view to establishing their own state on Turkish soil. In war conditions the Imperial government saw no other choice but to move the Armenians towards south coast of Turkey, away form the war theatre. During the movement of Armenians to the southern region there happened tragic events. But we are convinced that those tragic events never amounted to genocide. There was no intention of killing Armenians just for their being of Armenian origin. Clashes between Armenians and Turks and other subjects of the Empire mainly for revenge, epidemics, shortage of food caused casualties on both sides. We estimate the Armenian causalties to be 200 to 600 thousand. On the basis of British Empire and League of Nations figures, the total population of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of World War I was about 1.3 million. The Armenian claims that 1.5 million Armenians were subjected to the so-called genocide are therefore baseless.

The Holocaust was formally recognised by a judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal. The members of the Armenian diaspora must realise that they will also have to obtain a competent court’s judgment for their alleged genocide to be recognised. Resolutions obtained through parliaments largely on threat of witholding votes in constituences where Armenaians carry some weight in the electorate, cannot be sufficient. Yet the Armenians have so far refrained from to refer thier claims to court. Because they know well that their position is weak. The UN Convention of 1948 which deals with genocide does not make any allowance for political groups that rose in rebellion or resort to arms, against the central authority.

Some of the points raised by Ambassador Ozge in the ensuing Q&A session include:

Turkey has good-neighbourly relations with Iran but is concerned with its attempts to obtain nuclear weapons. Turkey may feel threatened if Iran should have nuclear weapons, and believes Iran should abide by all United Nations resolutions. However, Turkey does not object to Iran operating a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes (i.e. energy use).

· While there is a religious movement at the political level in Turkey, there has long been a robust secular base, which will make it very difficult for any political force to change the status quo. There are still issues to overcome but Turkey has been a beacon of multiculturalism since the days of the Ottoman Empire. Dialogue is important in the process of bridging the gap between the religious and secular movements.

· Advocates of the secular movement greatly desire European integration, predominantly because of perceived benefits in relation to prosperity, intellectualism etc. But there are two important movements which do not support this integration, namely the extreme religious and nationalist movements. Their reluctance to integrate with Europe must not be under-estimated. Similarly, the European Union’s demand of Turkey to demonstrate a non-interventionist approach by the military in the political affairs will not happen overnight – the military’s influence in Turkish society is pervasive mainly due to the role it played in the founding of the Turkish republic.

· Turkey is considered a model state for undemocratic Muslim countries in the Middle East.

· There are no prejudices against Israelis or Jews in Turkey. While anti-Semitism might occur in Turkey, much as it happens throughout the world, it is not particularly visible in Turkey and is not considered an issue. Turkish people accept members of other faiths, cultures and ethnicities with acceptance and respect.

· Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent are protected by the Constitution. They do not face any discrimination. In fact around one fifth of Turkey’s parliamentarians are of Kurdish descent. While the Kurdish community is predominantly located in the South East of Turkey, they are well integrated with the rest of Turkish society in the main cities throughout Turkey. There are indeed some Kurdish groups calling for autonomy. While the Turkish Government is willing to consider a range of requests from Kurdish groups, under no circumstances is it willing to consider requests for autonomy or any other resolution that would lead to an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.

· Turkey of course supports peace negotiations between Israel and Syria and would be willing to act as mediator should the parties request this.

CJF founder and director Manny Waks told J-Wire: “ It should be noted that the event ran an hour over time – a great indication of the level of enjoyment by all those in attendance.”

Growing calls for Armenian Genocide recognition in Australia

SYDNEY: The Hon. Joe Hockey MP on Thursday called for Federal Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide, becoming the third MP to address the Armenian Genocide in Parliament this week, reported the community's peak public affairs body, the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia).

Hockey, part-Armenian and a long-time advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition, added his speech to those made by the Hon. Maxine McKew MP (click here) and Mr. Paul Fletcher MP
earlier in what has been an unprecedented week of advocacy in Australia.

Three members of the House of Representatives, representing both major parties, have this week affirmed the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide.

While paying tribute to the life of one of Sydney's last remaining Armenian Genocide survivors Mr. Arshag Badelian, who passed away earlier this month, Hockey said: "I have long argued that this Parliament should recognise the genocide committed against the Armenian people in 1915."

The Shadow Treasurer added: "In the past month the Swedish parliament and the United States House Foreign Relations Committee have both recognised the genocide and these are very welcome developments.

"More and more legislatures are voting to recognise this past injustice and it is time that Australia joined them."

ANC Australia President, Mr. Varant Meguerditchian said: "We met with Mr. Hockey last week, and as soon as he was made aware of Mr. Badelian's passing, he decided it would be appropriate to address Parliament on his life and his legacy as a survivor of a Genocide yet to be recognised by the Federal government in Australia.

"Mr. Hockey has again gone on public record calling for Australia to join the score of legislatures calling on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide, and along with the statements this week of Ms. McKew and Mr. Fletcher; the battle for Federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide is very much alive."

On Badelian, Hockey said: "His passing, on the eve of the 95th Anniversary of the Genocide, also gives us cause to reflect on these terrible events and to recommit ourselves to the mission of ensuring that such a travesty is never again inflicted on any people simply because of their race and culture."

McKew clearly acknowledges Armenian Genocide in Parliament
SYDNEY: The Hon. Maxine McKew MP used a Constituency Address in Parliament on Wednesday to affirm her position on the Armenian Genocide, while paying tribute to the life of Sydney-based survivor Mr. Arshag Badelian, who recently passed away.

This follows a meeting between the office of the Parliamentary Secretary and the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) in Canberra last week, where issues raised by the Armenian-Australian community last November were discussed.

McKew, who is the Federal Member for Australia's most densely Armenian-populated electorate of Bennelong, had pledged during her 2007 election campaign that if elected, she would "advocate for recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the government of Australia".

ANC Australia President, Varant Meguerditchian said Wednesday's address is what they expect will be the "first step" in that advocacy.

McKew said in Parliament: "...the International Association of Genocide Scholars passed a resolution unanimously recognising the mass killings as the Armenian Genocide. Today some 20 countries, including Greece, France, Germany, Poland and Canada are among those who consider what took place in the years following 1915 to be an act of genocide."

"Madame Deputy Speaker, that too is my view."

McKew also mentioned her government's support for the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey, referring to the signed Protocols between the two countries. She said the Protocols "represent a start ".

She added: "I also recognise this is a difficult issue for Turkey. Nonetheless, to face the future, we must accept what happened in the past."

Meguerditchian said that ANC Australia will again meet with McKew to discuss "the lack of progress" on the Protocols due to "preconditions" placed on Armenia by Turkey.

"The overwhelming majority of Armenians agree with Ms McKew that normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey will be a positive step, and we will meet with her to discuss the issues confronting the current process," added Meguerditchian.

McKew went on to acknowledge the sad passing of one of Sydney's last remaining Armenian Genocide survivors in Arshag Badelian.

Meguerditchian added: "We welcome Ms McKew's acknowledgement of Mr. Badelian's life and times, and along with his family and all Armenian-Australians, we welcome the first step in what we expect will be sustained advocacy towards Federal Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide."

McKew is the second Federal Member of Parliament to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and the sad passing of Arshag Badelian this week, after Paul Fletcher did likewise on Monday

Arshag Badelian and Armenian Genocide marked in Federal Parliament
SYDNEY: Recently-elected Member for Bradfield Paul Fletcher marked the sad passing of Sydney-based Armenian Genocide survivor Arshag Badelian in Federal Parliament, and called for Australia to be reminded of the tragedy that was the Armenian Genocide.

The statement on Monday afternoon came after a meeting with the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) last week.

Fletcher said: "I rise today to mark the passing of Mr Arshag Badelian, who was one of the Armenian-Australian community's last living survivors of the Armenian genocide."

"One of the roles the [Armenian-Australian] community plays which is very important is to constantly remind Australian society more generally of the tragedy of the Armenian genocide in 1915. The community and its leaders work tirelessly to ensure that this genocide is not forgotten.

"It may perhaps be less well known in the community than the Holocaust, which affected the Jewish people, but it is just as shocking an example of human evil."

Fletcher took over as Member for Bradfield following the retirement of a long-time Friend of the Armenian-Australian community, the Hon. Dr. Brendan Nelson. And according to ANC Australia, Fletcher has already shown he is eager to continue that relationship.

ANC Australia President, Varant Meguerditchian said: "We thank Mr. Fletcher for his statement on the sad passing of Mr. Badelian - one of our community's last remaining Armenian Genocide survivors."

He added: "Mr. Fletcher's statement is the start of what we expect will be his integral involvement in our efforts to have Australia recognise the Armenian Genocide."


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