Debate of the Assyrian Petition in the Australian Federal Parliament 26 May 2005
The Assyrian Universal Alliance in Australia (AUA), lead by Hermiz Shahen, is pleased to announce that on Monday 23 May 2005, Mr. Chris Bowen MP, the federal Labor member for Prospect moved the AUA motion in the lower house of Federal Parliament (House of representative). This move came following a petition that was circulated by the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia Chapter, calling on the Australian Government to urge the Iraqi Government to create a ‘protected administrative area for the Assyrians‘. About three thousands Assyrians from Sydney and Melbourne signed this petition. Mr. Chris Bowen MP lodged this petition on Monday 14 March 2005 in the Federal Parliament of Australia. The petition was read as follows:
The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House: The need to develop an Australian foreign policy that calls on the Iraqi government to designate a geographic ‘Protected Administrative Area’ for the Christian Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and Mandeans in Iraq, in line with Article 53d of the Iraqi government’s Transitional Administrative law. 'Your petitioners therefore ask that the House review the Australian Government’s policy in relation to Iraq and make a statement encouraging the Iraqi government to establish a ‘Protected Administrative Area’ for Christian Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and Mandeans.“
On behalf of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) we are pleased to announce that after making a strong case to federal members of Parliament (Liberal and Labor Members) on behalf of the Assyrian community in Australia and in our ancestral homeland of Iraq, the motion was successfully seconded and endorsed by the six speakers of the house. The whole debate lasted about 30 - minutes. A DVD will be available shortly to organizations that wish to obtain a copy for their records.
A delegation representing the Assyrian Australian National Federation, the Assyrian Universal Alliance, and other prominent Assyrians were at the house during the debate. The delegation then met with prominent members of Parliament, including most notably The Hon. Kim Beazley, leader of the Opposition.
The AUA would like to thank all the individuals involved in making this motion possible, especially Paul Azzo , Zaya Toma, who are members of the Liberal Party and Councillor Ninose Khoshaba , member of the Labor Party. The AUA also thanks all the members of parliament and Senators who supported this motion and our cause in general, especially Mr. Chris Bowen MP, the federal member for Prospect, in who’s electorate the largest Assyrian community in Australia resides.
Although this has been a much-welcomed beginning, the debate is far from over and the Assyrian community in Australia is encouraged to Lobby their local Member of Parliament to ensure their support for this worthy cause. The AUA is cautiously optimistic and hopeful that both sides of politics (Liberal and Labor Members) in Australia will put aside their differences and unite to protect the small Assyrian Christian minority in Iraq, which has always been a friend to Australia.
You can view a transcript of the debate by following this link and selecting the transcript for the 23rd of May 2005, under “Iraqi Ethnic Groups” on Page 8.
Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australia Chapter