Mar 09, 2012

Assyria: New Parliamentary Friendship Group

A Parliamentary Friendship Group has been established by the Australian Chapter of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, with the aims of promoting cooperation and friendship between the Assyrian Australian communities and Members of the State Parliament. An election took place on 8 March 2012 to  elect a  new President and Deputy for the Group.

Below is a press release from the Assyrian Universal Alliance:

Election of a new President and his Deputy for the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group took place this Thursday, March 8, 2012 in the Parliament of New South Wales. About 70 members of parliament attended this meeting, from both the upper and lower houses, along with representatives of many Assyrian organisations associated with the Assyrian Universal Alliance in Sydney. The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) delegates included; Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the AUA, Mr. David M. David, Regional Secretary of the AUA for Australia and New Zealand and Mr. Simon Essavian , Executive Board member of the AUA .

The Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australian Chapter is pleased to announce the establishment of the Assyria parliamentary Friendship Group, aiming to promote cooperation and friendship between the Assyrian Australian communities with Members of State Parliament. The Assyrian Universal Alliance raised this issue in August 26, 2009, in a private meeting with Mr. Ninos Khoshaba, former Member of New South Wales State Parliament. Mr. Khoshaba agreed to undertake this initiative by making a formal request to Parliament.

 As soon as the official approval was obtained on 26th October 2009, Mr. Khoshaba called the first meeting to elect the Chairman and his Deputy to run the affairs of this Group. Approximately 18 members of parliament attended, as a result, Mr. Ninos Khoshaba was elected to chair the group and the Hon. David Clarke MLC as the Co-Chair.

The goals of this Committee are summarized as follows:

 1- To work closely with the State members of Parliament in addressing and advocating the concerns of the Assyrian community in Australia, and in particular Sydney’s Western Region.

2- To raise the profile of the Assyrian community in Australia.

3- To support the plight of the Assyrian people in the Middle East particularly in Iraq.

4- To provide assistance to Assyrians in their ancestral homeland

5- To address refugee issues with Government departments and agencies for immigration regarding the very basis of the acute humanitarian needs of the Assyrian refugee population outside Iraq.

6- To lobby Government departments and agencies for obtaining funds and grants for community development projects.

Thursday’s meeting of the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group at New South Wales State Parliament was called by Mr. Guy Zingari MP, State member for Fairfield. In a fair and democratic

atmosphere elected the Assyrian member of State Parliament of New South Wales, Mr. Andrew Rohan MP as new Chairman and Mr. Guy Zingari MP as his first Deputy and the Hon. David Clarke MLC as second Deputy.

The election ended with a short speech by Mr. Andrew Rohan MP, where he thanked all members of parliament for their presence and support for this group, he appreciated the initiative of the Assyrian Universal Alliance for establishing the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group, and then he gave a brief overview about the Assyrian history. Followed By Mr. Guy Zingari MP , Mr. Nick Lallich MP and Ms Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Minister for Transport, who congratulated the new committee and pledged to support the group.

Then Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, welcomed all the attendees and thanked the past chairmen, Mr. Ninos Khoshaba former MP and The Honourable David Clarke MLC for their leadership and support. He also congratulated the new chairman of this group and wished him success.

Mr. Shahen highlighted in his speech the history of the indigenous Assyrians that spans over 7000 years, and the genocides and atrocities that they have faced for centuries, and are facing, which reduced their population and scattered them throughout the western world.

Mr. Shahen talked about the achievements and the role that Assyrians have played in shaping the very cosmopolitan culture in Australia and underscored that Assyrians appreciate the value of citizenship in Australia and consider themselves privileged to be living in this beloved country.