On Tuesday, 14th February 2023, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP became the third Federal Australian politician to rise in the first parliamentary sitting fortnight of 2023 to speak out against Azerbaijan’s illegal aggressive tactics against the people of Artsakh and Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).

The Member for Bradfield, who was Australia’s Communications Minister in the previous parliamentary term, utilised a 90-second Private Members Statement to highlight Azerbaijan’s “new wave of aggression, cutting off the only land link between Artsakh and Armenia in an attempt to subjugate the civilian population to a new form of psychological terror”.

The Vice-Chair of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union (Friendship Group) thanked the Armenian National Committee of Australia and the broader Armenian-Australian community living in and around his electorate of Bradfield, who have highlighted the need for safety for the Armenian people on this issue.

Fletcher, who was the first Federal Australian Member of Parliament to speak up for the rights of Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh in the House of Representatives in 2010, directly called on the Australian Government to “speak up clearly in expressing the principle of the sovereignty of borders, and in raising our clear concerns as a nation about the conflict in Artsakh and the aggression demonstrated by the nation of Azerbaijan”.

The current Manager for Opposition Business and Shadow Minister for Government Services and Digital Economy also delivered a powerful message in September 2022 condemning Azerbaijan’s invasion of the sovereign borders of the Republic of Armenia, and published a statement in late December 2022 on his website over concerns over Azerbaijan’s blockade against Artsakh.

Fletcher, who received the Armenian National Committee of Australia’s Freedom Award in 2021, has demonstrated an unflinching commitment to advocate for issues of concern to his Armenian constituents and the broader Armenian-Australian community.

“Mr Paul Fletcher is currently one of the longest-standing champions of the Armenian cause in our Federal Parliament, and we are honoured to have him by our side and be our community’s voice,” said ANC-AU Executive Director, Michael Kolokossian.

“Mr Fletcher has always stood up for what is just and right, no matter the heights he has risen to in Australian politics. He takes a principled stance and does not shy away from voicing the truth to power,” added Kolokossian.

Over the last two weeks, statements have been delivered by Senator for Victoria, Janet Rice and the Member for Bennelong and Chair of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Union, Jerome Laxale MP.