Australia’s former Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon has risen in Federal Parliament and urged the Australian government to stop “playing word games” about the Armenian Genocide while paying tribute to Armenia on the occasion of the Republic’s 25th Anniversary, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia).
Fitzgibbon, currently the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, told the House of Representatives: “I have come to the conclusion our community of nation spends too much time playing word games, arguing about whether what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 was or was not genocide. Rather, we should collectively spend more time recognising that between 1915 and 1923 hundreds of thousands of Armenians had their lives cut short for no other reason than their ethnicity.”
Congratulating Armenia on 25 years of Independence, the Member for Hunter added: “The Armenian genocide and seven decades of Soviet rule would be enough to break the spirit of any culture or community, but Armenians are resilient and tough. They are also smart, sophisticated and enterprising. They hold a deep commitment to the wellbeing of their fellow man. Today I pay tribute to them and celebrate their anniversary with them.”
Fitzgibbon also paid tribute to all Armenian-Australians, including former Treasurer of Australia, Joe Hockey and Honorary Chairman of ANC Australia, Greg Soghomonian.
He said: “I honour all Australians of Armenian descent. The contributions of Australian Armenians to our country have been significant. I think of our own Joe Hockey—not of my political party but a significant achiever and contributor. I think of Greg Soghomonian, chair of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, who has been recognised for his leadership in diaspora communities. To mark the 25th anniversary Mr Soghomonian was awarded the Medal of Gratitude by the President of the republic at an awards ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.”
ANC Australia is currently in Canberra as part of its annual Advocacy Week, meeting Members of Parliament and Senators, including Fitzgibbon, with their international guest of honour, ANC America Chairman Raffi Hamparian.
Managing Director of ANC Australia, Vache Kahramanian remarked: “Mr. Fitzgibbon has been a long-time supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition and a close friend of the Armenian-Australian community. We thank him for his statement in Federal Parliament and look forward to working with him and his fellow Parliamentarians on securing Armenian Genocide recognition by the Commonwealth government of Australia.”