Recognition of Armenian Genocide by Australia

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New South Wales Parliament Condemns Genocide

SYDNEY-The New South Wales Parliament Thursday unanimously passed a Motion commemorating and condemning the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish Government, which began in earnest on 24 April, the eve of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps landings in Gallipoli.

The Motion was moved by the Opposition Leader, the Peter Collins Member of Parliament and Queens Council, who is the Member for Willoughby. The electorate of Willoughby contains the largest concentration of Australians of Armenian ancestry. In support of the Motion Collins said, “The genocide of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Young Turk government from 1915 was a purposeful attempt to eradicate the Armenian people.” Member of Parliament Bob Carr, speaking at a Parliament session in support of the Motion said that, like present day Germany, Turkey ought to acknowledge the Genocide of the Armenians. The Member will be delivering the keynote address at this year’s Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide organized by the Armenian Community of Sydney on 24 April 1997.

Member of Parliament John Watkins Australian Labor Party, Gladesville, who has a large and growing constituency of Armenians, and parliamentarian Michael Photios Liberal Party, Ermington, also spoke in support of the motion.

The motion condemns the Genocide of the Armenians and all other acts of genocide this century, as well as all attempts to deny or distort the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide.

The Government of Turkey continues to deny the Armenian Genocide and spends millions of dollars annually on public relations campaigns and lobbying to this end. The full text of the motion follows.

The President of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, Dr. Tro Kortian explained, “We are very grateful for, and welcome, the Opposition Leader’s initiative in moving this motion, and for the Premier’s support of the motion.” Kortian added, “It has been said that the final victim of genocide is the truth.”

The Parliament’s condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, and all attempts to deny it, sends another unequivocal message that genocide is a crime against all humanity which must never be tolerated nor allowed to be forgotten.” Kortian added, “We trust that the Commonwealth Parliament will pass a similar motion in the near future.”

New South Wales is the largest and most populace State in Australia. The estimated 30,000 Armenian immigrants in Australia are concentrated largely in Sydney.

Full Text of the Motion

Whereas 24 April 1997 marks the occasion of the 82nd anniversary of the commemoration of the Genocide of the Armenians by the then Ottoman Turkish Government between 1915-1922; This House:-

1. join the members of the New South Wales Armenian Community in honoring the memory of the 1.5 million men, women and children who fell victim of the first genocide of the 20th century;

2. condemn the Genocide of the Armenians and all other acts of genocide committed during our century as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance;

3. recognize the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to repeated;

4. condemn and prevent all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the Genocide of the Armenians and other acts of genocide committed during this century;

5. designate 24 April in every year hereafter throughout New South Wales as a day of remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians who fell victim to the first genocide of this century;

6. call on the Commonwealth Government officially to condemn the Genocide of the Armenians and any attempts to deny such crimes against humanity.

Source: Asbarez On-Line 97/4/17



NEW SOUTH WALES PARLIAMENT PASSES MOTION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE MEMORIAL Sydney:- On the evening of Wednesday 29 April 1998, the New South Wales (NSW) State Parliament passed a motion accepting the establishment of a memorial within the precincts of the NSW State Parliament honouring the memory of the 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children who fell victim to the 1915-23 genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish Government.

The motion was moved by Mr John Watkins, (Member for Gladesville), in marking in the NSW State Parliament, the 83rd anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide, and follows upon the announcement made by NSW Premier, Mr Bob Carr, in his address at last week's April 24 Armenian Genocide Commemoration by Sydney's Australian-Armenian community.

The motion marks both the first anniversary of the passing by the NSW Parliament of the motion condemning the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians committed by the Ottoman Turkish, as well as calling for the establishment of a permanent memorial within the parliamentary precinct. It is envisaged that the memorial will involve the erection of an Armenian Khatchkar and a plaque upon which will be inscribed the full text of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Motion unanimously passed by the NSW State Parliament in April 1997.

In his remarks to the Parliament, Mr Watkins stated that erection of such a memorial within the precinct of the New South Wales Parliament building " will bring to the attention of all people who visit Parliament House the tragedy of the Armenian genocide. It will serve as a symbol of the resilience, courage and spirit of the Armenian people. Finally, it will serve as a permanent reminder of this House�s determination to play its part in recording for all time the feelings of the people of New South Wales by placing on record its wish to rid the world of the horror of genocide."

Reflecting the bi-partisan support of the motion, the Leader of the NSW State Opposition, Mr Peter Collins Q.C. (Member for Willoughby) and mover of last year's Armenian Genocide Commemorative Motion, also made a statement to the Parliament strongly endorsing the motion moved by the Member for Gladesville. In his remarks Mr Collins stated:" Tonight this House is making a commitment, an historic commitment, something which has never happened in my experience in this Parliament. ... (The) unique privilege, which is bestowed by this motion, says a great deal, not merely for the Armenian people but also for this Parliament�s abhorrence of genocide and our recognition that genocide must be extinguished as a form of human behaviour."

After being put to a vote, the motion was unanimously agreed to by the NSW parliament (Legislative Assembly) at 7.50 pm.

In expressing his appreciation and gratitude for the decision taken by the NSW Parliament, Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANCA) President, Dr Tro Kortian also stated "The efforts undertaken by the Armenian National Committee of Australia over the last eighteen months, first to ensure successful passage of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Motion in April of last year, and second tonight's motion calling for the establishment of a permanent Armenian Genocide Memorial within the grounds of the NSW Parliament, represents an important step towards attainment of one of longer-term objectives - condemnation of the Armenian Genocide by the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia."

Source: anc@nareg.com.au Armenian National Committee of Australia



Dedication and Unveiling of the Armenian Genocide Memorial in New South Wales Parliament, Australia Armenian National Committee of Australia 259 Penshurst Street, P.O. Box 768 Willoughby NSW 2068 Tel: (02) 9419 8264 Fax: (02) 9411 8898 Email:anc@nareg.com.au

8 March 1999 PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release

Dedication and Unveiling of the Armenian Genocide Memorial in New South Wales Parliament, Australia

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Dedication and unveiling of the Armenian Genocide Memorial within the grounds of the New South Wales Parliament took place during an official ceremony held on the evening of Friday 5 March 1999.

Establishment of the Armenian Genocide Memorial follows the announcement made by the Premier of New South Wales, The Honourable Bob Carr during a speech he delivered at last year's April 24 Genocide Commemoration, where he indicated that he had taken the initial steps for the installation of an Armenian Genocide memorial within the precincts of the New South Wales Parliament. This was followed by the tabling on April 29 1998 of a formal motion to that effect, moved by Mr John Watkins, State Member for Gladesville, and subsequently passed by both Houses of the NSW Parliament.

The dedication ceremony was attended by the Premier of New South Wales, The Hon Bob Carr, The former Leader of the Opposition and Member for Willoughby, The Hon Peter Collins QC , Mr Michael Photios, state member for Ermington, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Kerry Chikarovski and the President of the Legislative Assembly, Ms Virginia Chadwick, Mr John Watkins, the state Member for Gladesville, NSW Legislative Council members, Mr Johno Johnston and the Reverend Fred Nile, and the Chairman of the New South Wales Ethnic Affairs Commission, Mr Stepan Kerkyasharian AM. The ceremony took place in the presence of Armenian religious leaders, representatives of all Armenian Community organisations in New South Wales, and two survivors of the Genocide, Mrs S. Krikorian and Mr T. Panigian.

The Premier unveiled the Memorial which comprises of a brass plaque upon which is engraved the full text of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Motion passed unanimously by the NSW State parliament in April 17 1997, and a traditional Armenian Khatchkar from Armenia, set in Sydney sandstone.

In his address to the audience Premier Carr revealed how his awareness of the experience of the Armenian people was fundamentally influenced by his attendance at an April 24 Commemoration evening in 1988, as well as by attendance at subsequent April 24 Commemorations; ` Your Commemoration does have an effect …We are here today fundamentally because of the impact that your commemorative work has on the thinking of people like myself and my parliamentary colleagues'. After underscoring how `fitting and proper' it is that the Armenian Genocide memorial be situated within the grounds of the NSW Parliament, the Premier of NSW added: ` The Memorial does provide for all those that visit Parliament House a reminder of what happened in 1915. I'd like to think that this State, this Parliament, has taken the lead in this acknowledgement.'

In his address to the audience, the former Leader of the Opposition and Member for Willoughby, The Hon Peter Collins QC, who moved the historic Armenian Genocide Commemorative motion which condemns the Genocide perpetrated against Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government, as well as all attempts to deny and distort the historical truth surrounding such crimes against humanity, stated: ` I believe it is the first time this has ever been done, and I think it is a singular tribute to the Armenian people by the Parliament without abstention. … It is a monument for all to see, it is a monument not simply in recognition of what happened to the Armenian people, although first and foremost it is that, but it is a reminder to all people of all time to learn and remember the lessons of history.'

President of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, Dr Tro Kortian, addressing the audience on behalf of the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Australia, expressed the Community's appreciation and gratitude for the historic dedication, and applauded the moral courage and leadership shown by the Parliament of New South Wales: `We applaud the moral leadership that you have shown in your resolute condemnation of the Genocide committed against the Armenian people as well as your condemnation of all the other acts of genocide that lamentably have been committed this century. … Equally enthusiastically we applaud your emphatic denunciation of all the attempts that have been undertaken in the past and that continue to be undertaken today, to deny and distort the historical truth …'

Dr Kortian further added: `I eagerly look forward to that day when the Commonwealth Government of Australia follows the lead taken by the NSW Parliament in declaring in an equally resolute manner, its official condemnation of the Genocide committed against the Armenians as well as all attempts to deny and distort the historical truth surrounding such heinous crimes against humanity.'

The solemn dedication ceremony of Armenian Genocide Memorial ended with a prayer and blessing undertaken by His Grace Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand.




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