UMD Engages with Australian Policymakers in Canberra

Between 25-27 May 2015, a delegation from UMD (Australia) met with leaders in the Australian Parliament with the objective of advancing Australia Macedonia Relations and building closer ties between the Macedonian community and the Australian Government and the Parliament. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations between Australia and Macedonia.

Left to right in photo: Martin Nikoloski, Snezana Dimitrovska, Tanya Plibersek MP, and Ordan Andreevski

In this context, the delegation met with Tanya Plibersek MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development. Tanya Plibersek is the Federal Member for Sydney. Plibersek is of Slovenian heritage and is widely respected for her positive leadership role in multicultural Australia. She is well aware of the challenges and opportunities facing Macedonia’s integration into NATO and the EU and understands the concerns of the Australian Macedonian community in relation to Australia’s policy on Macedonia. The delegation from UMD included Martin Nikoloski, Snezana Dimitrovska and Ordan Andreevski.

UMD Australia’s Director Ordan Andreevski explained “Tanya Plibersek is an active and influential member of the Opposition, the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. UMD has been working with these important institutional entities to advance the Australia Macedonia relationship and to nurture close ties with the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament. Tanya Plibersek, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and other key federal members of the House of Representatives and the Senate in Australia were scheduled to meet with Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki as part of his planned working visit to Canberra this week. Minister Poposki’s visit to Australia has been deferred for later in the year”.

UMD Australia has been calling on Australia to engage in a range of strategic initiatives, which will improve its international image and influence in international affairs. These include calls for a new White Paper on Australia’s Foreign and Trade Policies; a Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Policy on Macedonia; repeated calls for Australia to recognise Macedonia’s constitutional name in support of opening a new era of close and meaningful relations; a commitment to the Roadmap for Advancing Australia Macedonia Relations and a Statement condemning the recent terrorist attack on Macedonia and supporting Macedonia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and economic prosperity. UMD has also started an online petition in support of Australian Recognition of Macedonia’s Constitutional Name.

“We call upon all Macedonians and Macedonian organisations in Australia to use their social, economic and political networks to encourage their elected representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate to commit to building closer ties with Macedonia and its diaspora. A lot depends on our level of stakeholder engagement and effectiveness. We now have a historic opportunity to achieve the goals that unite our community in Australia and connect us with Macedonia,” said Andreevski

Since 2004, UMD has championed Australian-Macedonian issues and has actively worked to shape national, parliamentary and policy debates in Australia on a range of important public policy, foreign affairs and research issues. These include ways to improve the bilateral relations between Australia and Macedonia; submissions to the Australian Parliament to increase the impact of Australia’s Overseas Representation, the Inquiry into Multiculturalism and Social Inclusion, the Inquiry into Australia’s International Development Assistance Program, the Australian Research Council Linkage Project on “The Macedonian Diaspora in Australia: Current and Potential Links with the Homeland.” and a submission into Australia’s Consular Strategy 2014-2016 and the Proposal for New White Paper on Australia’s Foreign and Trade Policies.