MEDIA RELEASE : SMH Article about Multicultural NSW Guidelines
on February 16th 2015

February 16th, 2015

As the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance (“ATA-A”) We strongly oppose the assertions by the Sydney Morning Herald made on Monday Feb 16, 2015. ATA-A was founded by many Australian Turkish associations as an umbrella organisation in 2013 to advocate on behalf of the interests of the Australian Turkish community. One of our many roles is to advocate against turning foreign historical conflicts into a political football in Australia.

ATA-A is a not-for-profit organisation and funded by the donations of the Turkish community in Australia and like any other NGO, we try to raise funds for our non-profit events.

We have seen in recent years that some lobby groups, which are trademarked with their anti-Turkey causes, are damaging the multicultural harmony exists in New South Wales by bringing some unresolved political conflicts with them. 

The proposal made to the Multicultural NSW mentioned in the SMH article was a joint proposal made by the Japanese Community Network and ATA-A with the support of the representatives of the Indian community and the Ethnic Communities Council aimed to prevent these powerful lobby groups to use their political power to waste public funds, either by using the government funds or public land for erecting monuments for their political aims. ECC has also welcomed this proposal at their board meeting in November 2014 until their management changed in the beginning of this year. 

While not favouring any sides in any political conflict, in the proposal we outlined that the proposal was a required move to strengthen our community which consists of over 200 cultural groups, by urging the local councils not to be a tool in the hands of these powerful lobby groups.

It is in fact a pity to learn that the guidelines adopted by the Multicultural NSW Board of Advisors had to be withdrawn by Mr Victor Dominello, who is clearly under the immense pressure of some of the powerful lobby groups including the Armenian Lobby, and is in fear of nothing but loosing votes in an election year. As the Minister responsible for community relations, Mr Dominello should have cared for the harmony and the peace in NSW communities more than his votes.  We deplore the interference of the NSW Government to the Community Relations Commission’s right to adopt advisory guidelines to local governments in NSW.

ATA-A is not seeking to airbrush history or stifle debate. In fact we welcome an open debate  about the legal characterisation of the events of 1915. We believe that vast majority of the people in NSW would support the guidelines in their current form. We oppose making a political football out of foreign historical events. Whether such “recognition” is favourable to Turkish Australians or not. 

Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance