NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian and the Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams on Thursday (March 16) hosted an amazing dinner that brought people from all different backgrounds in the state together.
ATA-A congratulates Ms Berejeklian, Mr Williams and those who organised this gathering for showing the world the greatness of the state of NSW and its determined dedication to multiculturalism, social cohesion, diversity and inclusiveness.
Berejeklian greeting guests.
People from 200 different backgrounds call NSW home and play their part in driving its success. Without tolerance at its core, the state would fail.
NSW Premier Berejeklian, Ecevit Demir from ATA-A, Azerbaijan’s national star Sevinc and Minister for Multiculturalism Ray Williams.
The true success of the Harmony Dinner is its ability to unite Australians from different backgrounds during a time when our differences are being used by some to divide us.
Once again, we would like to thank to everyone and every community that makes Australia the great multicultural nation it is.
Hosted by the Hon. Ray Williams, Minister for Multiculturalism, in the presence of the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales, the Premier’s Harmony Dinner is a glittering gala to recognise and celebrate the significant contributions made by our multicultural leaders.
Attended by over a thousand representatives of our diverse State, the evening is a sit down cultural dress or black tie dinner, featuring incredible special performances.
You can read about the winners of this year’s multicultural community medals by clicking here.
The influence of lobbyists on some Australian politicians occasionally results in acts that are contrary to our Australian values; bring disrepute to our democracy and eroding people’s confidence in their elected representatives.
Take the recognition of the so-called Republic of Nagarno-Karabakh as an independent nation by the state of New South Wales.
The independence of the Nagarno-Karabakh is not recognised by any nation state around the world, including its most notable protector, Armenia.
Former NSW Legislative Council Member Marie Ficcara, following a trip to the region organised by a prominent Armenian-Australian lobby group, introduced a motion recognising the Republic of Nagarno-Karabakh as an independent state in 2012.
Such motions often go through scarcely populated sessions of the parliament without receiving enough attention from our members or anyone realising the damage it would do to the reputation of our great state.
This one has put the state of NSW globally into a unique and awkward position, in opposition to our Federal government.
Ethnic-Armenian militia, backed by Armenia and Russia, have carved out the area from Azerbaijan after a bloody conflict that saw various degrees of human rights abuses, crimes against humanity and violations of the rule of war.
Among those one stands out with its scale and brutality according to the Human Rights Watch. It is known as the Khojaly Massacre which took place this week 25-years ago. The European Court of Human Rights, in its 2010 ruling, labeled the events in Khojaly as “acts of particular gravity possibly amounting to war crimes or crimes against humanity…”
It is widely accepted that the ethnic-Armenian militia forces, supported by the Russian army, murdered hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijans trying to flee the town on the night of 25 February, 1992.
The town of Khojaly lies only fifteen minutes drive from the capital of the so-called Republic of Nagarno-Karabakh.
Since Ms Ficcara’s motion, the member for Davidson, Jonathan O’Dea, who also chairs the NSW Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group, has been the most prominent voice of the authority in that capital in recent times. Last year alone, O’Dea delivered three speeches celebrating this illegal authority, without a single mention of the hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani victims of the war that created the de-facto state of Nagarno-Karabakh.
O’Dea, for reasons that are hard to comprehend and contrary to our Australian values, continuously turned a blind eye to various war crimes committed by ethnic-Armenians, including those committed in Khojaly, and ignored the international order and norms by recognising the independence of this so-called state.
For example, the UN resolution 62/243 demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. So did the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe with its Resolution 1416.
Promoting friendship between peoples is a worthy thing, but Mr O’Dea’s zeal for Armenia and the Nagarno-Karabakh should be leaving his constituents puzzled if they were in fact aware of it.
Recognition of the Nagarno-Karabakh is not the job of the State Parliaments and thankfully, setting out our foreign policy is the job of the Commonwealth government.
Our elected representatives, State or Federal, should be working to foster “peace at home and in the world” so that the tragedies such as the one Khojaly will not happen again.
This peace will not be achieved by our politicians becoming the voice of lobby groups that are driven by ethnic motives and ignorant of the international laws and order.
Ignoring the suffering of civilians on one side of a conflict in order to further the cause of a single lobby group is a personal matter for politicians and their consciouses.
Last Thursday, January 26, Danish lawmakers decided – in line with parliamentary tradition – to leave history to historians.
In a resolution adopted by an outright majority, the Danes once again made it clear that the characterization of the events of 1915 as “genocide” would be “issuing a judgment about historical events”.
Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATA-A) welcomes the stand of the Danish parliament, as the resolution reflects our position on the issue.
ATA-A was founded in 2013 in Australia to counter a relentless ongoing campaign by some community lobby groups for parliamentary characterization of the events of 1915 as “genocide”.
We believe, as do many Armenians in Turkey and Armenia, that foreign parliaments and politicians often use this tragedy to score cheap political gains.
The Danish Parliament has called for an open dialogue about the events in question as the best path to reconciliation, on the basis of a free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period.
ATA-A strongly supports further academic research on the topic, as we believe only the truth can set us all free.
Neither the Danish resolution nor an earlier one passed by the German parliament in mid-2016 can alter the fact that millions suffered, had to flee, and lost loved ones in Anatolia at the turn of the century.
The tragic events in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, including a major draught, conscription, WWI war and civil unrests, cost hundreds of thousands their lives.
Millions were displaced.
Christians, Jews and Muslims alike suffered from the same terrible conditions.
Inter-communal violence carried out by gangs, armed so-called revolutionaries and ordinary folk destroyed many lives.
The people of Anatolia therefore understand each other and share each other’s pain.
We reject the use of the term “genocide”, because there is no credible evidence proving the Ottoman state’s intention to wipe out a group from existence.
The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (ATA-A) congratulates Ms Gladys Berejiklian for her ascension into the premiership of one of the most diverse and multicultural states in the world, New South Wales (NSW).
Daughter of an Armenian immigrant family, Ms Berejiklian has proven to us all that Australia is a land of opportunity and a fair go for all.
As the premier of NSW, we are confident that she will be a strong advocate for delivering services, growing the economy and strengthening diversity through multiculturalism.
We have no doubt that she will be pursuing the greater good for all of those in NSW.
Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in Ms Berejiklian’s life and for the state of NSW and we hope she will stand up against discrimination and racism in all of its forms.
We are hopeful that Premier Berejiklian will be open to due process and build consensus on contentious matters, which may affect our community.
We wish Ms Berejiklian success in building a better NSW and once again we reiterate our readiness to contribute all that we can.
The Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance is the peak representative of the Australian-Turkish community on all matters of common interest to members of our community. Our focus is on the welfare and progress of Australians with Turkish heritage, to promote their interests and defend them against attacks based on their cultural identity.