ANC AUSTRALIA THANKS JOE HOCKEY FOR LEADERSHIP ON ARMENIAN ISSUES
October 21, 2015
CANBERRA: The Hon. Joe Hockey today delivered his valedictory speech
in the House of Representatives, bringing to an end a distinguished
career as the Federal member of North Sydney, to which he was first
elected in 1996.
Hockey, who began his career as a junior minister in the Howard
Government, built a strong working relationship with the local
community in his electoral including the Armenian-Australian community.
He had a very strong working with the Armenian National Committee
of Australia (ANC Australia) and was a leader in advocating Armenian
issues in the Australian Federal Parliament.
In November 2005, Hockey visited the Republic of Armenia as Minister
for Human Services and visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial. At the
site he laid a wreath, signed the Museum's Guest Book, and planted
a tree in the Memorial Garden.
Born to an Armenian father who migrated to Australia, Hockey has
always been a strong advocate and shown great leadership for Federal
recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Being the Member for North Sydney in an Armenian populated electorate,
he has always attended to the needs of the Armenian community and
worked closely with ANC Australia on a wide range of issues. His
presence at annual Armenian Genocide commemorations, festivals,
banquets and Advocacy Weeks are a great testament to his support.
In 2007, Hockey was fundamental in securing $1.4 million of funding
for the Armenian Relief Society for support to the Gyumri Mother and
Child Health Care Centre in Armenia, which was not honoured by the
successive Rudd Government.
Hockey at the time stated: "The Australian government's commitment
to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Armenia pays tribute
to the generosity of the Australian people and almost a century on,
echoes Australian efforts to assist Armenian refugees in the years
immediately following the Armenian Genocide."
On October 20, 2008, Hockey made an Adjournment Speech in the House
of Representatives, publicly calling on the Commonwealth of Australia
to recognise the Armenian Genocide "for what it is, not alleged,
not supposed and not so-called".
He again made a statement publicly on March 18, 2010 in a Main
Committee Speech, and at the same time paid tribute to Armenian
Genocide survivor, Mr. Arshag Badelian. On that day, Hockey said:
"...more and more legislatures are voting to recognise this past
injustice and it is time that Australia joined them".
Throughout his political career, Hockey has met with various Armenian
MPs, including Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and Minister for
Diaspora, Hranush Hakobyan to further deepen bi-lateral relations
between Australia and Armenia. He has also been Chair of the
Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group.
In the Centenary year of the Armenian Genocide, as Treasurer he
led a number of federal parliamentarians in wearing the Armenian
Genocide Centenary Commemorative "Forget Me Not" Pin during Question
Time. He also released a public statement highlighting Australia's
involvement in relief efforts during the Armenian Genocide, and that
"Australian media were amongst the first to recognise the Armenian
Genocide occurring in the region at that time."
Turkish influence on the Abbott government on the eve of the ANZAC
Centenary did prevent Hockey from speaking at the Armenian Genocide
Centenary commemoration, however this did not prevent him from
attending the event at Sydney Town Hall and releasing the statement
above, unequivocally affirming the historical reality of the Armenian
In a tribute in Parliament today, current Treasurer, Scott Morrison
commented on Hockey's passion for his Armenian heritage and human
rights stating: "As a local member of parliament, Joe has been
an outstanding success... particularly the Armenian community in
your electorate and in the surrounding areas will have lost a great
advocate in this place, and it's up to the rest of us to show that
same passion that you have for respecting the Armenian heritage and
what happened those many years ago, and you standing up for those
issues in this place, and on behalf of that community, I think you
will forever be remembered."
Executive Director of the ANC Australia, Vache Kahramanian remarked:
"Today the Australian parliament loses a larger than life character
from its chamber. Joe served our country with distinction and honour
without every forgetting his roots."
"Joe was a champion of Armenian genocide recognition in the Federal
Parliament. His countless statements, speeches, community engagements,
were testament to his unwavering commitment to not only this issue,
but all Armenian related issues," Kahramanian added.
"His counsel and guidance will be deeply missed but we wish Joe and
his family the very best in their future endeavours. No doubt his best
years of public service are still ahead of him," Kahramanian concluded.
On behalf of the Armenian-Australian community, the Armenian National
Committee of Australia thanks Joe Hockey for his tireless efforts
and contribution to the Armenian nation, the Armenian people and