CANBERRA: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition on behalf of the Armenian-Australian community, as they were returned to govern Australia with a majority following the 2019 Federal Election.

ANC-AU has congratulated the candidates it featured in its 2019 #AusKveh Federal Election Guide – 85% of whom won their electorates and will be Members in the 46th Parliament.

Tim Wilson (Goldstein) was re-elected to ensure there remains one Member of Australia’s Federal Parliament with Armenian heritage.

John Alexander (Bennelong), Trent Zimmerman (North Sydney), Joel Fitzgibbon (Hunter), Jason Falinski (Mackellar), Paul Fletcher (Bradfield), Julian Leeser (Berowra), Chris Bowen (McMahon), Michelle Rowland (Greenway), Adam Bandt (Melbourne), Michael Sukkar (Deakin), Josh Burns (Macnamara), Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo) and Tony Zappia (Makin) were among the successful MPs who pledged to support issues of importance to Armenian-Australians in pre-election meetings with ANC-AU.

The Federal Senate will once again have nine members from The Australian Greens, two from Centre Alliance and one from The Australian Conservatives – all of whom have party positions calling for Australia to recognise the Armenian Genocide.

“The Armenian National Committee announced before the election that our issues are best represented when we have friends of truth and justice elected in the nation’s parliament, and we sought to provide our community with information of where key candidates stand on those issues,” said ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian.

“The results of the Federal Election have us feeling confident that we can further the momentum for Armenia-Australia relations, the rights of Armenians in the Republic of Artsakh, and Australia’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide in what will be the 46th Parliament,” Kayserian added.

The 45th Parliament was memorable for the advancement of the Armenian Cause, as two motions were debated in the House of Representatives. Members used these opportunities to call on Australia to recognise the Armenian Genocide. The initial motion – in June 2018 – represented the first occasion that the words ‘Armenian Genocide’ had made it to the Notice Paper for debate in Australia’s Federal Parliament.

The Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group) was also formed, which is working towards enhancing ties between the two countries among other goals. The State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh also visited and met Australian parliamentarians, while the case for the rights to self-determination for the Armenians of the Republic of Artsakh was represented on several occasions by individuals MPs and Senators.

The pre-election period was dominated by media coverage after Prime Minister Morrison backflipped on his prior positioning on the Armenian Genocide – which used to be one of accurate characterisation, paired with calls for recognition and justice. While this position was mirrored by his Opposition counterpart, a number of high-profile parliamentarians from both sides distanced themselves from their leaders and called the Armenian Genocide by name.

“We look forward to working with the re-elected Prime Minister to ensure the leader of Australia’s government no longer feels gagged by a foreign dictatorship when it comes to issues of human rights and morals,” said Kayserian.

ANC-AU has also expressed the Armenian-Australian community’s commiserations to former Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party for their loss.

“Most issues of importance to Armenian-Australians are not ideological, they usually require a strong moral conscience,” Kayserian said. “We will continue to work with all members and senators, representing all parties, in both chambers to advance the Armenian Cause.”

ANC-AU thanked the close to 100 Armenian-Australian volunteers, who helped friends of the community on election day. This effort was led by the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia.