Plan for an Armenian genocide denier to air views in Parliament house outrages Armenian community
Updated Fri 15 Nov 2013, 11:51pm AEDT
Armenian Australians are outraged that one of the worlds most strident Armenian genocide deniers, Professor Justin McCarthy, will be allowed to present his views next week in Parliament House.
STEVE CANNANE, PRESENTER: The Government hopes to give as many Australians as possible the chance to win access to the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 100th anniversary of Anzac Day in 2015 and has announced the ballot for places will open this weekend.
But the parliament is also hosting an event that many believe will deny an even bigger historical tragedy, the Armenian genocide that began just before Australian troops landed at Anzac Cove.
Defence correspondent Michael Brissenden reports.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN, REPORTER: It’s become the defining moment of Australian legend. A national mythology forged on the beaches of Gallipoli.
What few Australians realise is that this day coincides with another even more tragic anniversary. For Armenians, April 2015 marks the centenary of the start of the darkest chapter of their history.
Genocide scholars say that from 1915 to 1923, more than a million Armenians lost their lives at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
The Turks have long denied the charge and only recently pledged to ban NSW politicians entirely from the Gallipoli celebrations after the NSW Parliament passed a motion recognising the Armenian genocide.
From time to time there have also been calls from the Federal Parliament to do the same.
(EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENT NOVEMBER 21, 2011)
MALCOLM TURNBULL, FMR SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: The elimination, the execution, the murder of hundreds of thousands of millions of people for no reason other than that they were different, in this case that they were not Turks, just as the Jews were eliminated because they were not Germans.
JOE HOCKEY, FORMER SHADOW TREASURER: This is not an issue of discussion, it’s not an issue of definition. Any systematic eradication of a race is genocide regardless of the political or social unease it may bring.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But it seems it will be an issue for discussion here in Parliament House next week.
This flier is an invitation to a presentation in one of these committee rooms booked by the Labor member, Laurie Ferguson. The presentation will be delivered by one of the world’s most strident genocide deniers.
The special presentation will be delivered by Dr Jennifer Lawless from the NSW Education Department’s Board of Studies and Professor Justin McCarthy, an American history academic. When it comes to genocide denial, McCarthy is considered by Armenians to be what David Irving is to the Jewish Holocaust.
McCarthy holds a number of honorary Turkish doctorates and campaigns against the recognition of the Armenian genocide.
As this clip from a conference in Germany shows, his views are unequivocal.
(EXTRACT FROM CONFERENCE)
PROFESSOR JUSTIN MCCARTHY: They have no evidence, no facts, no proof that says that the Turks wanted to act this way. What is said is based on emotion and in this case and a desire to prove that there is a genocide instead of first looking at the facts.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Although it’s known as the Armenian genocide, thousands of Assyrians and Pontian Greeks were also killed.
Genocide scholar Panayiotis Diamadis says all three communities will be alarmed that such an address is being held in the Federal Parliament.
PANAYIOTIS DIAMADIS, GENOCIDE SCHOLAR: Anger, disgust that an official forum – such an official forum as Federal Parliament is being given to a man who denies the memory of the victims, who denies that this genocide occurred.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Lateline contacted Laurie Ferguson’s office for a comment. So far none has been forthcoming.
As we’ve seen, Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull and a number of other Federal politicians have raised the issue of the Armenian genocide in parliament in the past. None of those contacted by the ABC wanted to add to what they’ve already said.
Clearly, the sensitivity surrounding our relationship with Turkey is in even more focus as we head towards the Gallipoli anniversary, although it’s understood another attempt will be made to get the Federal Parliament to recognise the genocide after April 2015.
Michael Brissenden, Lateline.
Source: Lateline | Duration: 4min 10sec