CANBERRA, Australia–A Federal Member for North Sydney, Joe Hockey, Monday spoke openly about the Armenian Genocide in the Federal Parliament of Australia, calling for recognition of the heinous crime.
In response to appeals by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Hockey raised in Parliament the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) recent use of the qualifier ‘alleged’ when making reference to the Armenian Genocide in a documentary entitled ‘Family Footsteps – Armenia’ broadcast in September.
Hockey stated: "In the dead of night on 24 April 1915, 250 Armenian political, religious, educational and intellectual leaders in Istanbul were arrested, deported to the interior of the country and murdered… which is now recognised as the beginning of an official attempt by the Turkish government to exterminate its Armenian population.
"Around 1.5 million Armenia’s were murdered during the Armenian genocide out of an estimated total Armenian population of just 2.5 million people," said the legislator.
Hockey concluded by calling on the Commonwealth Government to recognise the Armenian Genocide. He urged "this parliament to recognize the Armenian genocide for what it was–not alleged, not supposed and not so-called."
In a statement released today, ANC Australia President Varant Meguerditchian thanked Hockey for "again demonstrating leadership on a human rights issue which transcends party politics".
The statement read: "ANC Australia reaffirms its commitment to raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide as a measure toward the prevention of such crimes against humanity."
Hockey thanked ANC Australia for bringing this matter to his attention.
The statement by Hockey in Parliament follows an active grassroots action by ANC Australia to raise awareness and seek correction by the ABC for referring to the Armenian Genocide as the ‘alleged Armenian Genocide’ in a recent documentary.
In addition to more than 1000 emails sent by members of the Armenian-Australian community to the ABC regarding this matter, ANC Australia secured letters of support from Maxine McKew, Member for Bennelong, Prof. Gregory Stanton, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Dr Donna-Lee Freize, Deakin University, Prof. Peter Balakian, Author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, the Australian Hellenic Council and the Australian Institute for Holocaust & Genocide Studies.