Debate of the Assyrian Petition in the Australian Federal Parliament

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Debate of the Assyrian Petition in the Australian Federal Parliament

Monday 23 May 2005, Mr. Chris Bowen, the labor MP moved the AUA motion before Question Time (around 1:30pm) in the Federal Parliament “ House of representatives”.  This move came following a petition that was circulated by the Assyrian Universal Alliance – Australia Chapter, calling on the Australian Government to urge the Iraqi Government to create a ‘protected administrative area for the Assyrians‘. About three thousands Assyrians from Sydney and Melbourne signed this petition.  Mr. Chris Bowen MP lodged this petition on Monday 14 March 2005  in the Federal Parliament of Australia.   The petition was read as follows:

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House: The need to develop an Australian foreign policy that calls on the Iraqi government to designate a geographic ‘Protected Administrative Area’ for the Christian Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and Mandeans in Iraq, in line with Article 53d of the Iraqi government’s Transitional Administrative law.

‘Your petitioners therefore ask that the House review the Australian Government’s policy in relation to Iraq and make a statement encouraging the Iraqi government to establish a ‘Protected Administrative Area’ for Christian Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs and Mandeans.

On behalf of the Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) we are pleased to announce that after a strong lobby which this chapter conducted with more than 15 Ministers and Senators of the governing Australian Liberal members with help from dedicated Assyrians Mr Poul Azzo and Mr Zaya Tooma, the Monday 23 May 2005 motion was successfully seconded and endorsed by the six speakers of the house. The whole debate lasted about 30 minutes. An audio CD will be available shortly for Assyrian political Organisations wish’s to view and keep for records.

A delegation representing the Assyrian Australian National Federation, the Assyrian Universal Alliance, and other prominent Assyrians were at the house during the debate. The delegation visited Mr. Chris Bowen, MP, in his Parliament office, to congratulate and thank him for his courageous stand in defending the Human Rights of the Assyrian people of Iraq.  The delegation also met with Ms Maria Vamvakinou, MP, Australian Labor Party in Victoria, representing the Assyrian community in her electorate of Calwell in Melbourne, who seconded the motion and spoke in its support, and with Mr. Kevin Rudd, MP, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Security. We then had the opportunity to meet for 10 minutes with The Hon Kim Beazley, MP, Leader of the Opposition during his very busy schedule in Parliament, and with many other Senators.

The next stage will be harder and will require much more effort toward implementing this motion and the suggestions that were raised from both the Labor MP’s and the Government representative.

You can read the whole debate by  clicking on

then click on May 23.

Look for parliamentary debate. Page 8/24 – 28 Under “Iraqi Ethnic Groups”


Hermiz Shahen,
Assyrian Universal Alliance- Australia Chapter