The official launch of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union for the 47th federal parliamentary term took place on Tuesday 29th November 2022 at Australia’s Parliament House, with a number of high-profile parliamentarians and diplomatic representatives in attendance along with community leaders and international keynote, Dr Arman Tatoyan, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
The Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group), which is registered as part of the International Inter-Parliamentary Union, was re-formed for the current parliamentary term at the initiative of the ANC-AU on behalf of the community.
The group was launched during the 2022 ANC-AU Advocacy week, at an event hosted by the newly appointed co-convenors of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, Mr Jerome Laxale MP, Member for Bennelong and the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Member for Bradfield. They both addressed the gathered, declaring their pride at their new posts and their solidarity with Armenian-Australians in their goals of enhancing bilateral relations between Armenia and Australia, achieving federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide and protecting indigenous Armenians of Armenia and Artsakh against attacks by Azerbaijan.
The launch event featured the ANC-AU’s international guest of honour for the its Advocacy Week, Dr Tatoyan, who is founder of the Centre for Law and Justice and former Human Rights Defender of Armenia. He addressed attendees on the night and thanked the Australian Parliament for continuing their commitment to advancing relations with the Republic of Armenia. He thanked the convenors and members of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union and presented the importance of international friends to Armenia at a time when its very existence is under threat from genocidal neighbours.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Group aims, among other things, to foster closer political, cultural, trade and educational relations between Australia and Armenia, in particular, through the respective Parliaments.
The over 60 guests included current members of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, including the co-convenors Laxale and Fletcher, Steve Georganas MP (Federal Member for Adelaide), Julian Leeser MP (Federal Member for Berowra), Josh Burns MP (Federal Member for Macnamara), Henry Pike MP (Federal Member for Bowman), as well as Ambassador Georges Papacostas (Greek Ambassador to Australia), Darren Bark (CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies), Ronit Gabriel (Public Engagement Office at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry), Zackary Drury (Adviser at the Office of the Prime Minister) and many parliamentary staffers.
The ANC-AU Youth Advocates, who are in Canberra participating in advocacy training, were also present at the event, which showcased Armenian culture through Armenian wine and brandy served to guests throughout the night. Attendees also witnessed a special cultural performance by members of the Armenian Sydney Dance Ensemble.
ANC-AU Executive Director, Michael Kolokossian addressed told the gathered: “The Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union plays a pivotal role in strengthening our already present ties between the two countries’ legislatures. This group will continue to foster closer political, cultural, trade and educational relations between the two nations our community holds dear.”
Mr Kolokossian concluded by saying: “The Armenian National Committee of Australia looks forward to working closely with the Inter-Parliamentary Union Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Group to help further strengthen those important ties between Australia and Armenia.”