May 9, 2016
PRESENTING UKRAINE’S POSITION AND THE UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY IN AUSTRALIA’S SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE TO JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE
On Wednesday May 4, 2016 The Ambassador of Ukraine Dr Mykola Kulinich and Mr. Stefan Romaniw Chairman of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations (AFUO) presented about the situation in Ukraine to the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. They advocated for the Australian Government to support Ukraine in moving forward and standing against Russian aggression. They also spoke about the investment and economic potential and possibilities of strengthening bilateral relations. They also strongly advocated for the further resourcing of the Australian Embassy in Kyiv.
Further information on AFUO and Embassy of Ukraine in Australia Facebook sites.
The AFUO position papers presented at the meeting is attached.
TO: MEMBERS OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE
FROM : STEFAN ROMANIW OAM
CHAIRMAN, AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF UKRAINIAN ORGANISATIONS (AFUO)
GENERAL SECRETARY, UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS
DATE: MAY 4 2016
SUBJECT: AFUO INFORMATION AND POSITION PAPER
Role of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations in Australia –Ukraine relations
- AFUO is the peak body for Ukrainians in Australia. According to 2011 Census there are approx. 38,000 people of Ukrainian background in Australia.
- The AFUO has been instrumental in assisting to build stronger relations between Australia and Ukraine.
Examples of AFUO activity in the past 3 years:
- Provided the Australian Government with strategic information during the Revolution of Dignity
- Supported the work of Ambassador Jean Dunn at the height of the Revolution. The AFUO acknowledges the strong and uncompromising work of the Ambassador at the time
- Provided the Australian Government with regular updated information on developments in Ukraine since the Revolution of Dignity
- Worked with Australian Government agencies in managing community harmony at the height of the Revolution of Dignity and the shooting down of MH17
- Played a significant role in programing the visit of President Poroshenko to Australia in December 2014
- Lobbied for the opening of an Embassy of Australia in Kyiv, Ukraine
- Assisted the newly appointed Ambassador of Australia in Kyiv, His Excellency Doug Trappett on his arrival by hosting events with Government, business and civic leadership in Ukraine
- Assisted in opening media opportunities in Ukraine for the Ambassador
- Participated in meetings with President Poroshenko, PM, Minister for Foreign Affairs and other Ministers to promote Australia-Ukraine relations
- Facilitated the opportunity for Textor-Crosby to undertake a project with the Administration of the President of Ukraine
- Instrumental in the formation of systemic combat first aid training program, Patriot Defence, in which over 30,000 soldiers and volunteers have now been trained and received NATO accredited first aid kits for battle. In due course, the program will become a systemic Government program, www.patriotdefence.org
- Instrumental in lobbying DFAT to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine as well as funding and support for Ukraine’s New Police program
- Worked to reactivate the Australian Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group (AUPFG) and to facilitate discussion between it and the Ukraine–Australia Parliamentary Friendship Group
- Lobbied the chair of the AUPFG to facilitate regular briefings with the AUPFG membership by the Ambassador of Ukraine and the AFUO on the situation in Ukraine
- Played a role in negotiations to withdraw Ukraine’s case in WTO against Australia on tobacco plain packaging case
- Prepared a major paper for the then Deputy PM of Ukraine on Multiculturalism in Australia and how the model could work in Ukraine
- Increased relations with the Council of Jewry in Ukraine on forming the concept of the Coalition of the willing in fighting Russian aggression and propaganda
- Continues to work closely with the Verchovna Rada Committee for Foreign Affairs in Ukraine
- Assisted in arranging meetings with a range of Government instrumentalities for the newly appointed Ambassador of Ukraine to Australia
- Initiated the formation of the Australia–Ukraine Chamber of Commerce and held the first Bilateral Business Forum in Melbourne in November 2015 with participation of business representatives from Australia and Ukraine
- Working on the second Bilateral Business Forum in Kyiv, Ukraine in late 2016
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations via this Standing Committee calls on the Australian Government to:
- Continue building strategic alliances with Ukraine. Both countries aspire to a strong value system, have strong economic potential and have opportunities to enter into new markets.
- Continue its support for Ukraine in fighting Russian aggression and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
- Continue with ongoing sanctions, against the Russian Federation and commit to strengthening these sanctions.
- Assist in the training of members and leaders of Ukraine’s armed forces and volunteers.
- Provide Ukraine with lethal weaponry.
- Call on the international community to install international peacekeeping troops on the border.
- Ensure that the Embassy of Australia in Kyiv remains open and appoint a new Ambassador to the post. Any concept of closing the post in Kyiv would be seen as a victory for President Putin and his administration. Australia has invested too much in recent years to allow this to happen.
- Work in partnership with Ukraine in the UN Security Council.
- Demand the release of political prisoners including Nadija Savchenko and 27 others.
- Condemn President Putin and his administration for not adhering to the Minsk Accords.
- Condemn the Russian Federation’s tactics in violating human and national rights.
- Actively support the second Australia–Ukraine Business Forum in Kyiv in late 2016.
Stefan Romaniw OAM
Chairman AFUO, General Secretary UWC