In a major announcement for the the Joint Justice Initiative of the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities, Australia’s Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer, Michael Sukkar MP has added his voice to growing calls for national recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides.
The February 2020 launch of the Joint Justice Initiative at Australia’s Parliament House featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and Australian Hellenic Council (AHC), which declares Australia’s recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides as a priority on behalf of their communities.
The Federal Member for the Melbourne seat of Deakin, who is of Lebanese heritage, addressed Australia’s position appeasing Armenian Genocide denial during a December 2018 House of Representatives debate honouring the 70th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
“No amount of economic consequences and no amount of diplomacy should ever stop us from doing the decent thing as Australians and calling out the genocide for what it is,” Sukkar said.
“If the consequences with governments and countries like Turkey or Azerbaijan mean that economic consequences flow, I say so be it—and I know the Australian people will back this parliament all the way when taking that approach.”
Following the 2019 Federal Election, Sukkar was named the Morrison Government’s Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing. He joined the Joint Justice Initiative this year, in 2020.
“The addition of a Government Minister to our calls for Australian recognition of the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides is further evidence that Turkey’s exported denialism is unwelcome in our country’s foreign policy,” said Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Executive Director, Haig Kayserian.
“We thank Minister Sukkar for his support and conviction on this important issue on human rights.”
The Joint Justice Initiative has so far announced the support of Sukkar, Senator Louise Pratt, Warren Entsch, Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Andrew Wilkie MP, Julian Leeser MP, Michelle Rowland MP, Senator Paul Scarr, Tony Zappia MP, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator Hollie Hughes, Senator Rex Patrick, Mike Freelander MP, Senator Eric Abetz, Senator Larissa Waters, Senator Pat Dodson, Jason Falinski MP, Josh Burns MP, John Alexander MP, Senator Andrew Bragg and Bob Katter MP, with a promise of more announcements to come.
On 25th February 2020, over 100 Federal Australian parliamentarians, diplomats, departmental officials, political staffers, academics, media and community leaders were treated to cultural performances, food, wine and brandy, as well as the historic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which affirmed that the signatory public affairs representatives of the three communities were jointly committed to seeing Australia recognize the Turkish-committed Genocide against the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian citizens of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.