Over 20 federal and state political leaders have demonstrated the growing disparity between the elected parliamentarians of Australia and the country’s Government with 107th Anniversary statements accurately characterizing the Armenian Genocide and calling on their colleagues in the executive branch to do the same, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
Video statements from political leaders across Australia and all represented major parties were broadcast during Australia’s National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which was viewed by thousands on Facebook Live and YouTube on 26 April 2022.
These calls for Australia’s recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides followed statements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese referring to the Armenian Genocide as “massacres”, “expulsion”. “deportation”, “dispossession” and “deaths”.
Prime Minister Morrison, who in 2011 called on Federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, acknowledged the outpouring of Australian support for victims of the Armenian Genocide and through the country’s first humanitarian relief effort and went as far as referring to the events of 1915 as “one of the greatest crimes in modern history”.
Opposition Leader Albanese used his statement to call for the Ottoman Empire’s successor state. Turkey to “come to terms with its history”.
Both stopped short of calling these crimes by their name – genocide.
In contrast, the condolence messages from both federal and New South Wales state political leaders in light of the 107th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide went one step further, accurately characterizing the crimes and genocide and calling on the Australian Government to do the same.
Messages were received from Hon. Paul Fletcher MP – Minister Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and Art, Shadow Home Affairs Minister Senator Hon. Kristina Keneally, as well as their Federal parliamentary colleagues, including Leader of The Australian Greens Adam Bandt MP, Co-Chair of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Union Trent Zimmerman MP, Tim Wilson MP, Julian Leeser MP, Senator Janet Rice, Senator Eric Abetz, Steve Georganas MP, Mike Freelander MP and Jason Falinski MP and Josh Burns MP.
Minister Fletcher conveyed: “I’m proud on this 107th anniversary to repeat my call to again express my strong belief that the Armenian Genocide must be recognised, it must be accurately described for what it was, and that Australia as part of the community of nations must maintain efforts to ensure there is full awareness of what happened,”
Senator Keneally also referred to the Armenian Genocide accurately, and revealed: “(The Australian) Labor (Party) believes the (U.S. President Joe) Biden administration’s decision (to recognise the Armenian Genocide) is an opportunity for the Australian Government to engage in dialogue with diaspora communities in Australia and our international partners on this issue.”
The Australian Greens is the largest cross-bench party in the Australian Parliament with a formal policy supportive of Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Their leader, Adam Bandt said: “The Greens have consistently called on the Australian government to recognise the Armenian Genocide. We must not remain on the wrong side of history along with Turkey and other nations that refuse to acknowledge this horrific tragedy.”
On the 107th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, these sentiments were echoed by nine other federal parliamentarians, while New South Wales Premier Hon. Dominic Perrottet added his name to the long list of the state’s leaders who have addressed the Armenian-Australian community marking the occasion by recalling the “great crime of the Armenian Genocide”.
Perrottet said: “Our commemoration is about more than just remembering, it’s about commitment. Commitment to learn from such atrocities, commitment to making sure these crimes against humanity are never repeated again.”
“25 years ago, the New South Wales parliament became the first in Australia to formally recognise any condemn the Armenian Genocide. I am proud to be part of that parliament because we cannot forget,” he added.
The Premier was joined by fellow state parliamentarians, including Hon. Jonathon O’Dea MP, Hon. Mark Coure MP, Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Hon. Damien Tudehope MLC, Hon. Walt Secord MLC, Hugh McDermott MP, Tim James MP and Tanya Davies MP, who similarly characterised the massacres against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks accurately.
ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian welcomed the support from the legislators for their “principled stance”.
“What we saw in November 2021 was the exhibition of Australia’s will on this issue, when the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives unanimously debated in favour of a motion calling for Federal recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides,” said Kayserian.
“These statements from over 20 representatives we’ve elected to parliament echoes those sentiments and represent a further manifestation of when the everyday Australian stands on this issue, and for this we are eternally grateful.”
Kayserian added: “It is now time for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader of Australia to stand with their constituents and their elected representatives and take one final step by recognising the Armenian Genocide accurately, and stop bowing to empty threats from a foreign dictatorship, whose century-long campaign of denial has been defeated.”