Report Confirms Macedonian Diaspora Matters to Australia

Over 50 prominent persons from the Australian Government, from all sides of the Australian Parliament, the Macedonian Parliament, the diplomatic corps, universities, the media and the Macedonian community attended the official launch of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project report on ‘Diasporas and Links with the Homeland’ yesterday in the Australian Parliament. Click HERE to download the report. 

The keynote speakers at the official launch were Australia’s Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten MP and the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Richard Marles MP who represented the Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr who was scheduled to speak at the event.

The three-year research project explored the broad dimensions of ties between the Italian, Macedonian, Tongan and the Vietnamese communities and their homelands.  The research focused on trends in citizenship, identity and language use, personal ties and frequency of visits to the homeland, political and communal ties, caregiving, remittances and philanthropy and business and professional ties.  The research makes important policy and practice recommendations relating to the role of diasporas in Australian bilateral relations.  

Minister Shorten noted that “We welcome and acknowledge our great fortune that so many sons and daughters of foreign soil have chosen Australia to be their home.  Because we have this diversity, we are a great country.  Diasporas have strengthened and enlivened Australian society and its workplaces to better meet the challenges the 21st century”.

Parliamentary Secretary Marles stated that “the 100,000 strong Macedonian community has enriched Australia since the 1880’s and is the bedrock of the relationship with Macedonia”.  This builds on the statement issued by Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr on 25 July 2012 in which he kindly praised the contribution of the Australian Macedonian community to Australia’s warm and growing relationship with the Republic of Macedonia.

Professor Danny Ben-Moshe from Deakin University observed that “The research showed that each of the diasporas have made and have the potential to make a positive and significant contribution towards the development of Australia and to advancing the bilateral relations their homelands”.

Co-author of the report on the ‘The Macedonian Diaspora in Australia: Current and Potential Links with the Homeland’ Mr. Ordan Andreevski from the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) noted that “given the important current and potential role the Macedonian diaspora, both the Australian and the Macedonian Government need to co-invest in high impact programs and projects in collaboration with the diaspora which will deliver better economic, social, cultural and public policy outcomes in both countries”.

Andreevski used his speech to “call upon the Australian Government and the Australian Parliament to recognise the Republic of Macedonia under its legitimate constitutional name without delay and to focus on pressing issues, policies and projects that will bring substantial benefits to both countries”.

The research was supported with funding from the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and a range of other Australian organisations. The Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a grant of AUD$30,000 towards the project.  UMD Australia provided in-kind support at each stage of the three-year project.

“UMD Australia will partner with key stakeholders to build on the research report.  We will focus on impact oriented activities that will further strengthen, deepen and widen the links between Australia and Macedonia and that will elevate the status, influence and value adding capabilities of the Macedonian community in Australian society” stated Andreevski.

The official launch was attended by all sides of Australian politics including Stephen Jones MP, Luke Simpkins MP, Harry Jenkins MP, Phillip Ruddock MP, Sharon Bird MP, Laurie Ferguson MP and by Senator Richard Di Natale from the Australian Greens.  Dozens of other members both houses in the Australian Parliament sent their apologies as they were taking part in unavoidable official business associated with the re-commencement of Australian Parliament after the six week winter break.

The Ambassador of Italy in Australia was in attendance as were diplomats from the Macedonian, Dutch, Indian, Turkish and other embassies.  Miki Dodevski, member of the Macedonian Assembly for Australia, New Zealand and Asia was also present.

UMD Australia was represented by Treasurer Robert Pasquale who flew in from Perth, by UMD Regional Representative for Sydney/NSW Tony Joseski and by UMD Regional Representative for Canberra and the ACT Martin Nikoloski.  Andrew Ananievski, former International Policy and Diplomacy Fellow at UMD Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was also in attendance as were members of the Macedonian community from Canberra and Queanbeyan. 


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