UMD Australia’s Representative for the ACT and Queanbeyan Mr. Martin Nikoloski met with the new Australian Minister for Defence Materiel, the Hon Dr. Mike Kelly MP. The meeting took place at the Minister’s electoral office in Queanbeyan. Dr. Kelly is the Labor Member for the federal seat of Eden-Monaro, which has a large percentage of Macedonians especially from Ohrid, Struga and other parts of Macedonia and the broader Balkans region.
Nikoloski explained that ‘Minister Kelly is a hard working and well-regarded federal MP who enjoys close relations with the Macedonian community. He has been a strong supporter of the Australia Macedonia Parliamentary Friendship Group and has met with numerous Macedonian delegations.’
Minister Kelly has good connections with the Balkans based on his military career with the Australian Army where he visited Bosnia and other parts of the region. Dr. Kelly is aware of the importance of having strong and sustainable states in the Balkans and has been supportive of nurturing closer relations between Australia and Macedonia based on people to people ties as well as institutional linkages. He also recognises the significant contribution that Macedonia has made to peace operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nikoloski took the opportunity first to congratulate the Hon Dr. Mike Kelly MP for being promoted as the Minister for Defence Materiel in the Australian Government and to thank him for his ongoing engagement with and support of the United Macedonian Diaspora and the Macedonian community in Australia. Second to encourage the Minister to continue to strengthen and deepen the relationship between Australia and Macedonia and between the Australian Government and the Macedonian community.
Minister Kelly was also invited to visit Macedonia as soon as possible in order to connect with key institutions and leaders and to gain a better understanding of the significant progress that Macedonia has made since gaining independence in 1991.
The United Macedonian Diaspora works in partnership with all current and potential members of the Australian Parliament from across the political spectrum based on their commitment to nurturing closer ties with the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian community of Australia.