By ANC-AU | Tuesday, 01 March 2022
SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) presented Deputy Leader of the Senate and Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship, Senator the Hon. Kristina Keneally with the 2021 Armenian-Australian Community’s Friend of the Year Award, at the ANC-AU Annual Gala in Sydney on Saturday 19th February 2022.
One of the most recognisable politicians in Australia, Keneally has been a member of the Australia-Armenia Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Union since beginning her time in the Federal Australian Senate.
As a New South Wales State MP and Premier, Keneally was familiarised with the issue of the Armenian Genocide raised by Armenian-Australians in her state. As she graduated to the Federal ranks, she became one of the most outspoken on the importance of national Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Most recently, Senator Keneally has reiterated her support for the rights to self-determination of the Armenian Republic of Artsakh, joining the Australian Friends of Artsakh network, meeting with visiting delegations from Stepanakert and speaking against the aggression being faced by the country on several occasions.
In her acceptance speech, Senator Keneally expressed her sincere gratitude and thanks to the Armenian-Australian community.
“I am incredibly honoured, delighted and humbled by this acknowledgement of the longstanding, deep friendship that I have had with the Armenian community in NSW and indeed in Australia,” said Keneally.
During her speech, Senator Keneally reiterated her support for federal recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Australia and expressed concern regarding the ongoing instability in the Artsakh following the 2020 Artsakh war.
The award was presented to Senator Keneally by 2021 Hagop Kortian Scholarship recipient and ANC-AU Administrator Tamara Kotoyan, who––as part of her scholarship opportunity––interned with Senator Keneally in both her Sydney and Canberra offices.
ANC-AU Executive Director Haig Kayserian said: "We are honoured by Senator Keneally's friendship and this award is emblematic of our community's sincere appreciation for her continued advocacy on issues of justice that concern Armenian-Australians, who are largely made up of descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors."
Senator Kristina Keneally’s acceptance speech can be viewed by clicking here or watching below.
Past recipients of the ANC-AU Armenian-Australian Community’s Friend of the Year award include Joe Hockey, Joel Fitzgibbon, Tim Wilson, Trent Zimmerman, Bob Carr, John Alexander, Gladys Berejiklian, Phillip Adams, Jonathan O’Dea, Walt Secord, Paul Fletcher, Michael Atkinson and the late Professor Colin Tatz, and Dr Hugh McDermott MP in 2020.
The Friend of the Year Award was one of three honours handed out at this year's Gala. The Hon. Paul Fletcher MP––Australia's Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure and Cities and the Arts, was awarded the Armenian National Committee Freedom Award, and the Ben Bagdikian Media Award was presented to Michael Brissenden, a former political editor, ABC Radio host and ABC TV Current Affairs Washington Correspondent.