Senator Joe Bullock of Western Australia has delivered a speech in Australia’s Senate, blasting the anti-Armenian stance on Nagorno-Karabakh recently expressed by his fellow Federal Australian politician, MP for Cowan, Luke Simpkins, the Armenian National Committee of Australia reports.
Simpkins, the Chair of the Azerbaijan Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group, recently travelled to Azerbaijan as a guest of the petro-Dictatorship, and has since refused to meet with the Armenian side of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Despite this unbalanced approach, and despite the Australian media questioning his relations with Azerbaijan and his other activities abroad, Simpkins has remained steadfast in what the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) has called his “assumed role as the chief communicator of the Azeri propaganda in Australia’s Parliament”.
On the first 2016 sitting day of Parliament, Bullock spoke in Australia’s Senate, recalling his late-2015 meeting with an ANC Australia delegation headed by Republic of Nagorno Karabakh MP, Davit Ishkhanyan.
He proceeded to call out Simpkins’s “uncritical support for Azerbaijan”, sighting the history of the region of Nagorno-Karabakh and why this democracy does not deserve the treatment the West Australian MP is serving. In his speech, Bullock also acknowledged the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the rights to self-determination for the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh.
After highlighting the historical background of how Nagorno Karabakh was always Armenian, and explaining the oppressive Azeri regime forcing the Armenians of the region to vote for Independence in a referendum, Bullock said:
“To speak, as the Member for Cowan [Simpkins] has repeatedly done in the other place [House of Representatives], of the ‘illegal occupiers of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan’ is ludicrous. How can a people who have lived continuously in this region for centuries illegally occupy their own land?”
Bullock added: “Furthermore, such uncritical support for Azerbaijan’s absurd demand that this brave little nation commit suicide, dismantle its 25-year-old democracy and hand over its people to the tender mercies of the Azerbaijan government can only serve to strengthen the intransigence of the Azerbaijanis in refusing to recognise the reality of Nagorno-Karabakh’s nationhood.”
“As Nobel Peace prize winner Andrei Sakharov said in November 1989, shortly before his death: ‘For Azerbaijan the issue of Karabakh is a matter of ambition; for the Armenians of Karabakh, it is a matter of life or death’.”
Bullock concluded his powerful address by saying: “[Nazi Germany Propaganda Minister] Joseph Goebbels may have notoriously preferred guns to butter, but the Australian government needs to take care that its efforts to increase exports of butter to Azerbaijan do not result in the Azerbaijanis more confidently turning their guns onto the brave citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
ANC Australia Executive Administrator, Arin Markarian welcomed the speech made by Senator Bullock in the Senate.
“It is refreshing that we have legislators in Australia like Senator Bullock, who received a visit from an Armenian delegation, then researched the issues we advocated, before reaching a conclusion on his own, which he has now communicated to Parliament,” said Markarian.
“He has shone a light on the plight of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh, and advocated for their rights to self-determination on what is their native land.”
Markarian concluded: “We commend Senator Bullock for this, and for leading Australian political discourse on this issue back to the moral high ground, like Mr. John Alexander has done before him in the House of Representatives.”