The Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) – Australian Chapter is pleased to announce the election of a new chairman and deputy for the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group, which took place on Thursday, March 8, 2012 in the Parliament of New South Wales. About 70 members of the upper and lower houses of the parliament attended this meeting along with representatives from many Assyrian organisations associated with the AUA in Sydney.
The AUA had proposed the establishment of this group on August 26, 2009, in a private meeting with Mr. Ninos Khoshaba, former member of the New South Wales State Parliament. AUA’s goal was to promote cooperation and friendship between Assyrian Australian communities and members of the State Parliament.
Mr. Khoshaba agreed to undertake this initiative by making a formal request to the Parliament. Once the official approval was obtained on October 26, 2009, Mr. Khoshaba called the first meeting to elect a chairman and 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 group are:
- To work closely with the State members of Parliament to address and advocate the concerns of the Assyrian community in Australia, and in particular Sydney’s Western Region.
- To raise the profile of the Assyrian community in Australia.
- To support the plight of the Assyrian people in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.
- To provide assistance to Assyrians in their ancestral homeland.
- To address refugee issues with governmental departments and agencies for immigration regarding the very basis of the acute humanitarian needs of the Assyrian refugee population outside Iraq.
- To lobby government departments and agencies for obtaining funds and grants for community development projects.
Today’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. The election took place in
a fair and democratic atmosphere resulting in Mr. Andrew Rohan MP being elected as new chairman, Mr. Guy Zingari MP as his first deputy and the Hon. David Clarke MLC as second deputy.
The election concluded with a short speech by Mr. Andrew Rohan MP, in which he thanked all members of the Parliament for their presence and support for this group. He lauded the initiative of the AUA for establishing the Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group, and then gave a brief overview of the Assyrian history. Subsequently, Mr. Guy Zingari MP, Mr. Nick Lallich MP and Ms. Gladys Berejiklian MP congratulated the new committee and pledged to support the group.
Then, Mr. Hermiz Shahen, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, welcomed all 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 and wished him success.
Then, Mr. Shahen, AUA Deputy Secretary General, highlighted the history of Assyrians, observing that it spans over 7000 years in today’s Iraq, making Assyrians one of the oldest people of the region and thus indigenous to the lands. He elaborated on the current status of Assyrians and the genocides and atrocities that have been committed against them for centuries which have systematically uprooted them from their ancestral lands, scattering them throughout the western world. He noted that this continuing displacement has reduced the Assyrian population to a pivoting point in their homeland, endangering their very existence.
Mr. Shahen summarized the achievements of the Assyrians and the role they have played in shaping the 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.
Link To Assyria Parliamentary Friendship Group: http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20120314007