The Tasmanian House of Assembly has become the third state jurisdiction in Australia to recognise the 1915 Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU).
The motion was introduced on Thursday 11th May 2023, 2:30pm by Lara Alexander MP – Member for Bass. Several members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly spoke in favour of the motion, including Jeremy Rocklife MP – Member for Braddon and Premier of Tasmania; Rebecca White MP – Member for Lyons and Leader of the Opposition; Cassy O’Connor MP – Member for Clarke and Leader of the Tasmanian Greens; Rosalie Woodruff MP – Member for Franklin and Dr Shane Broad MP – Member for Braddon and Shadow Treasurer.
In a major show of non-partisan support, the motion adopted acknowledged the significant humanitarian contribution conducted by the people of Tasmania to assist victims of the 1915 Genocides and recognised the importance of remembering the crimes of the past to ensure they are never repeated again.
It was carried in the affirmative and was unanimously adopted in the presence of members of the local Armenian, Assyrian and Greek communities as well as representatives of the ANC-AU National Office and Board.
The adoption of this motion means the Tasmanian Parliament joins the New South Wales and South Australian Parliaments in recognising the 1915 Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides, making it the third state to recognise one of the first genocides of the 20th century.
The motion’s significance comes approximately three weeks after the Prime Minister of Australia and the Opposition Leader failed to accurately characterise the massacres of Armenians as Genocide.
ANC-AU Executive Director, Michael Kolokossian applauded this historic motion and thanked the champions of the motion, all those who worked behind the scenes and the entire Parliament, who unanimously supported the motion.
“In 2023, a record number of Australian Parliamentarians, 28 in total, called for Australian recognition of the Genocide, and their calls will now be amplified by another state standing on the side of truth and justice,” Kolokossian said.
“Today’s recognition is not simply about remembering the Armenian Genocide but preventing genocides from happening again,” added Kolokossian.
ANC-AU Board Member Garineh Torossian, who joined the ANC-AU National Office to witness the historic motion take place in Tasmania, said: “We thank Ms Alexander, Mr Rockliff, Ms White, Ms O’Connor, and all members of the Tasmanian Parliament’s most representative chamber for ensuring history is not forgotten but learned from. This is yet another step in the right direction.”
The full motion adopted can be read below.
GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS, ASSYRIANS AND GREEKS.
— That the House:—
(1) Joins the members of the Tasmanian Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Communities in honouring the memory of the approximately 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children and over 1 million Assyrians and Greeks who fell victim to the first genocide of the 20th century.
(2) Condemns the Genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks and all other acts of genocide committed during the 20th century, as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance.
(3) Recognises and honours the extraordinary humanitarian efforts of the then newly formed Commonwealth of Australia, including Tasmania, for the orphans and other survivors of the genocide, which set a proud tradition of international humanitarian efforts by our State.
(4) Further recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history, to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated.
(5) Further condemns and opposes all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the Genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks and other acts of genocide committed in the 20th century.
(6) Acknowledges the 34 UN member states (including US, Canada, France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland) that have recognised the Genocide․