ADELAIDE–South Australia’s Lower House on Wednesday followed the Upper House by passing a motion officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia from the Parliament House.
South Australia’s Legislative Assembly passed the motion officially joining “members of the Armenian-Australian, Pontian Greek-Australian and Assyrian-Australian communities in honoring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide”.
The motion was introduced by the Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, and seconded by Opposition Leader, Martin Hamilton-Smith. Eight other members of parliament spoke in support and it passed unanimously.
This action comes one month after South Australia’s Legislative Council–the upper house–passed a similar motion.
ANC Australia President, Varant Meguerditchian, praised the “historic” motion, which recognized the genocides committed by Ottoman Turkey in Anatolia against its Christian population and called upon “the Commonwealth Parliament to officially condemn the genocide”.
“The one million Australians of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian heritage are proud that both houses of South Australia’s Parliament have recognized the events of 1915 as genocide,” said Meguerditchian.
Meguerditchian further praised the supporters of this motion, as it was passed despite much-publicized pressure from the Turkish government via its Ambassador to Australia.
“The unanimous passage of this motion, in spite of direct pressure from the Turkish government, and in spite of US President Obama’s failure to use the term ‘genocide’, demonstrates the will of South Australia to stand firm in the fight against denial,” said Meguerditchian.
“The call for the government of Australia to follow NSW and South Australia in recognizing the Armenian Genocide is one we will take directly to Canberra on behalf of our communities,” he added.