Melbourne, Australia 24 Feb. 2012
UMD Australia supports Inquiry into Australia’s Overseas Representation; Calls for Opening of Australian Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia
As a result of its submission to the Inquiry into Australia’s Overseas Representation on 28 Nov. 2011, the United Macedonian Diaspora (Australia) was invited to a public hearing in Melbourne on 23 Feb. 2012, by the Parliament of Australia, Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. The hearing enabled the Committee to gain in-depth information from UMD Australia on the recommendations for improving Australia’s diplomatic impact. In particular, the Committee was interested in UMD’s views on the activities that Australia’s diplomatic posts must undertake; their geographic location and spread; the appropriate level of staffing including locally engaged staff; and the affect of e-diplomacy and information and communication technology on the activities of diplomatic posts.
In the opening address, UMD Australia’s Director of Australian Outreach Ordan Andreevski congratulated the Committee for initiating this timely and important inquiry, welcomed the Macedonian Consul General in Melbourne Mr. Savo Sibinoski as a special guest and gave a brief overview on the history, reach and impact of UMD in Australia, Canada and the USA.
“Australia has a proud record of international engagement both globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. We are concerned that this proud record is under threat from underinvestment in Australian’s diplomatic representation and adherence to some out-dated foreign policies and management practices. The key to closing Australia’s diplomatic deficit and upgrading its capacity to better meet the challenges of a fast changing and interdependent world is through continuous innovation and co-investment involving the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament working in partnership with key stakeholders including diasporas, civil society, research institutes, the media and the corporate sector” said Mr. Andreevski.
“Australia’s overseas representation and its ability to deliver soft power and better diplomatic, social, economic and international outcomes can be enhanced through fresh thinking, new leadership and new investments in strategy, operations and stakeholder engagement. This transformation can be enhanced and sustained if Australia’s overseas representation is made a higher priority in the Australian federal budget and if it is expanded in neglected regions like South Eastern Europe in general and the Republic of Macedonia in particular”. In his closing statement Mr. Andreevski noted that “Australia should recognise the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name and open an embassy in Skopje and a Consulate General in Bitola in 2012”.
UMD Australia was pleased to note that at least four of the Committee members such as Harry Jenkins MP, Philip Ruddock MP, Dr. Sharon Stone MP and Laurie Ferguson MP have worked with the UMD and the Macedonian community through the Australia-Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Media Contact: Ordan Andreevski, Director of Australian Outreach, Email: [email protected] Mob. +61 (0) 438 385 466
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