Tim Wilson, of Armenian origin, headlines list of ANC Australia-endorsed candidates elected to Federal Parliament

By ANC Australia | Tuesday, 05 July 2016

CANBERRA: The vast majority of the Armenian National Committee of Australia’s (ANC Australia) endorsed candidates won their seats in the Federal Parliament in Saturday’s Election, despite the fact that the overall result of the poll remains unclear.

Headlining the list of victors for Armenian-Australians is Tim Wilson (LIB), who won the seat of Goldstein in Victoria to ensure he becomes the second-ever Federal Parliamentarian of Armenian descent, after Joe Hockey (now retired from Federal politics).

The other Armenian-Australian contesting the poll was former ANC Australia National Board member, Hovig Melkonian (ALP), who unfortunately lost his seat of Casey, despite outstandingly clawing back the margin against his challenger, the incumbent Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith (LIB).

The most Armenian-populated seat in Australia, Bennelong in NSW, was won for a third time by John Alexander (LIB), who is the incumbent Chair of the Armenia-Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group, and an outspoken advocate on Armenian Genocide recognition and the rights to self-determination for the Armenians of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.

The most Armenian-populated seat in Victoria, Bruce was won by Julian Hill (ALP), who has promised to advocate for Armenian-Australian issues of concern in the next Parliamentary term.

In the Senate, where results are also not yet clear, it seems likely that there will be stronger representation for the Nick Xenophon Team, whose leader Nick Xenophon is a strong advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition. The Greens will also likely end up with at least nine Senators and Rev. Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is projected to win one seat. The Greens and the CDP are both on the record to ANC Australia as supporters of Armenian Genocide recognition.

Generally speaking, the Liberal/National Coalition (LIB) and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) are in a neck-and-neck race to try and gain a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. As absentee votes and postal votes are still being counted, either party needs to reach the number of 76 in order to officially be in government - either on their own accord, or via negotiations with the cross-benches.

The result should be clearer by the end of this week.

Prior to the election, the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia) met with candidates in key seats for Armenian-Australians, and produced a report card reviewing the key candidates.

A statement released on Election Night from the community’s peak public affairs body read:

“ANC Australia is pleased to report the following key results for Armenian-Australians:

  • JOHN ALEXANDER (LIB) has retained the most Armenian populated seat in Australia and is re-elected as the Member for Bennelong. Alexander is the Chair of the Australia-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group, and the most vocal advocate for the right to self-determination for the Armenians of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

  • TRENT ZIMMERMAN (LIB) has retained the seat of North Sydney, which is also heavily populated with Armenians. He is the successor to Joe Hockey and in his recent Maiden Address, called on Turkey to recognise the Armenian Genocide.

  • MICHELLE ROWLAND (ALP) has retained Greenway. She is a very eloquent advocate for Armenian Genocide recognition by the Federal Government, and has shown a keen interest for the safety and well being of Armenians escaping the terrors of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism and Citizenship.

  • TIM WILSON (LIB) has won the seat of Goldstein, becoming the second ever Armenians (after now-retired Joe Hockey) in the Federal Parliament of Australia.

  • JULIAN HILL (ALP) has retained the most Armenian populated seat in Victoria for his party, Bruce. He has committed support for key Armenian-Australian issues.

  • PAUL FLETCHER (LIB), who is also on the record as a supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition, has retained the seat of Bradfield.

  • Senator Nick Xenophon, a strong supporter of Armenian Genocide recognition, formed his own Party for this Federal Election, and his NXT Candidate for the Electorate of Mayo in South Australia, REBEKHA SHARKIE (NXT) has won.

  • Friends of ANC Australia who have won their respective seats include JOEL FITZGIBBON (ALP), JASON CLARE (ALP), ANTHONY ALBANESE (ALP), CHRIS BOWEN (ALP), JULIAN LEESER (LIB), and incumbent Prime Minister MALCOLM TURNBULL (LIB).

  • Other Armenian populated seats that have been decided include Warringah, which has seen TONY ABBOTT (LIB) re-elected, and the seat of Mackellar, who has elected JASON FALLINSKI (LIB) to take over from the retiring Bronwyn Bishop. These are candidates we look forward to meeting post-election to seek their positions on key Armenian-Australian issues.

At this point in time we would like to note the battle for the Electorate of Cowan in Western Australia, which is being hotly contested by DR. ANNE ALY (ALP) against the Chair of the Australia-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship Group, incumbent LUKE SIMPKINS (LIB), who famously made anti-Armenian statements in Parliament condemning the self-determined Republic of Nagorno-Karbakh as “illegally seized” territory belonging to the Aliyev dictatorship of Azerbaijan. Aly is currently narrowly in front of Simpkins, but counting in coming days may tip the seat either candidate’s way.

We will continue to watch the marginal seat as more votes are counted over the next 48 hours and update you at www.facebook.com/ancaustralia.

We would also like to comment on the Election campaign of former ANC Australia Board Member and very good friend, HOVIG MELKONIAN (ALP). Unfortunately, Melkonian has lost the seat of Casey to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, despite recording a swing away from the incumbent and towards his party, and attracting tens of thousands of votes. We would like to wish him all the best in what is undoubtedly a very promising future in politics, and would like to convey how proud the Armenian-Australian community is with his efforts.”

ANC Australia’s Executive Administrator Arin Markarian remarked: “We would like to congratulate all Members of Parliament who have been elected or re-elected to serve in public office, and we look forward to meeting with them to continue to advance all Armenian-Australian issues and concerns that are important to our community.”