25th Anniversary of Independence Republic of Armenia
Mr Deputy Speaker,
I rise today to congratulate the people of Armenia on a significant milestone in the modern history of a nation that holds a special place in the hearts of many residents in my electorate.
On 21 September 2016, the streets of Yerevan, the capital and largest city in Armenia were filled with the sounds of celebration as a new yet ancient nation celebrated its 25th year of independence.
Fireworks, music and military parades filled this beautiful capital.
It was on this historic day 25 years ago that the Armenian people boldly and with near unanimity voted YES to secure their independence from the yoke of the Soviet Union.
After seven decades of Soviet rule, the Armenian people vowed to proudly stand on their own two feet and to walk ahead as an independent nation with a new sense of purpose and belonging.
The path to independence for the Armenian people has not been an easy one.
The world’s first Christian nation, Armenia has an incredible history dating back thousands of years.
Yet its geopolitical location at the crossroads of larger neighbours has meant that Armenia has been at the centre of a tug of war between the empires of the Ottomans, Russians and Persians.
In fact, barring the last 25 years and two years of hope following World War I, Armenia has spent six centuries under occupation.
It is extraordinary testament to the spirit of survival and resilience of Armenians – who have endured foreign rule and of course the devastating impacts of the Armenian genocide – that it emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union as a free nation.
So the 25th anniversary of independence is a real cause for celebration.
As a small land locked nation bordering, in some cases hostile neighbours, its challenges are considerable.
Yet it has achieved a great deal.
With some of the highest levels of educational attainment in the world, a rich culture and a sense of determination that is a hallmark of the Armenian character I am sure that its future as a successful nation is secure.
In large measure, the success of Armenia has occurred with the support of the Armenian diaspora.
Scattered in every part of the world, those of Armenian heritage have made such significant contributions to their new homes wherever they settled.
This is evident across Australia in business, the arts, community and even politics.
My predecessor, the Honourable Joe Hockey along with my friends Gladys Berejilklian and the Member for Goldstein are testament to the latter.
My own electorate is fortunate to be home to so many of Armenian heritage and I see so often their involvement in my own local community.
Their contribution to Australia is matched by support for the future of their cultural homeland and I know that many Australian-Armenians joined in celebrating the 25th anniversary of independence.
I am sure that all Members of this House wish Armenia well for its future as a stable, secure, prosperous and free nation.