Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) Co-Chairs Stefan Romaniw and Kateryna Argyrou have commended the Australian-Ukrainian community on its strong unity since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, and stressed the importance of all migration waves working together and speaking with one voice on the international, national and local stage.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Co-Chairs have outlined what the community has achieved as a unified body, encouraged flexibility within existing structures to accommodate change and welcomed all those of Ukrainian background in Australia to keep focused on the main objective – to defeat the Russian occupiers of Ukraine; provide support to Ukraine; and sustain and grow the Australian-Ukrainian community.
The full statement is provided below:
STRENGTH IN UNITY: FIND YOUR PLACE WITHIN THE AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF UKRAINIAN ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA
Unity is the strength and power of any organisation, community, or family. A unified unit will consistently achieve more.
Like any community, family or organsation, there are differing opinions on various issues. However, maturity and strength can often be judged by how a group can work through issues and come to a solution for the common good.
By showing unity through the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO), we have demonstrated to the Government and the broader community that we can speak and act with one voice.
This has led to:
- a visa regime to assist displaced people come to Australia and find shelter
- negotiating support services through Government agencies
- delivering “meet and greet” groups at each state level (Hromada level). Displaced persons are not forced to choose – “Do I go to this group or that group?”
- negotiating an extension on the humanitarian visa issues
- raising more than $6.5m in humanitarian support and over $400,000 in military support
- sending over 200 pallets of humanitarian support
- advocating the Government to support Ukraine through sanctions and humanitarian and military aid. Over $400m is aid has subsequently been secured
- strong media presence to ensure that there is no Ukraine fatigue
- advocating for PM Albanese to visit Ukraine and having AFUO presence on the ground
- organizing a national rally commemorating the MH17 disaster and condemning Russian aggression in Ukraine outside the Russian Embassy (every day, someone is there)
- campaigns to support Ukraine, including declaring Russia a terrorist organization, and demanding the Russian Ambassador and other diplomats be expelled
Thank you for your efforts. The underlying fact here is unity.
The AFUO structure allows for all to participate at their chosen levels.
The AFUO has one state representative association at the state level (“Hromada”) and would prefer to focus on strengthening these state-based organisations than creating new structures.
However, the AFUO believes that we should be open to change, progress and new ideas in a new environment. If activities need to change or be adapted, we should be open to this.
The AFUO calls out to its state hromady and all members to be open to our new displaced persons, be available to those who have come through the various waves, and be open to modifying structures or activities to meet the demands of the day without losing our primary aim and objective – to defeat the Russian occupiers of Ukraine; provide support to Ukraine; and sustain and grow our Australian-Ukrainian community.
The AFUO does not see the creation of new, in some cases, parallel structures as an overall benefit and would encourage those who want to work and support the Ukrainian community to look to an organization within the AFUO that meets their needs. At the same time, state hromady and members of CYOA must be open to change if needed.
We have a wonderful cohort of creative and professional people. We need to harness this expertise. You can be all be a part of this.
The AFUO calls on all those of Ukrainian background in Australia – regardless of when they arrived, or whether they were born here – to work as one.
Together, we can be one strong community, with one strong voice.
Co-Chairs Stefan Romaniw OAM and Kateryna Argyrou
Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations