Craig Kelly, Liberal Federal Member for Hughes in Sydney, has outraged the Greek community of Australia and the world by posting a video on his social media page on Sunday, referring to the Macedonian naming issue.
The remarks were made at a rally attended by Kelly, who told the crowd-
“It is up to the people of ‘Macedonia’, the ‘Republic of Macedonia’ to decide how their country is governed…and they should be free from interference from foreign nations.. so the words I say is in respect to that…they also must have the right to decide what name they will be known as…and if the nation of ‘Macedonia’ wishes to call itself ‘The Republic of Macedonia’…every other nation should fall in line and respect that right.”
Kelly goes on to say that he will be asking the Australian Government to also support his views on this matter.
The Member for Hughes has been known to make these kinds of comments in the past and Greek City Times contacted his office yesterday to know why his remarks again went against the internationally recognised constitutional name.
GCT emphasised to Kelly that the dispute over the use of the word ‘Macedonia’ exists because the northern Greek province of Macedonia not only carries the same name for thousands of years, but has been the target of FYROM, which has tried to appropriate its Greek culture and history.
Until such time as the name dispute with Greece is resolved all international organisations including the United Nations, which Australia is a signatory to have agreed to refer to the said country as the ‘’Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Kelly’s response to GCT on email today was as follows-
“I understand the long standing Greek connection to the name “Macedonia”. However my view is that the issue is NOT a historical debate about who has greater rights to a name.
My view is based upon the simple concept; that every sovereign democratic nation has the right to self-determination and the freedom to decide for itself what it’s name will be.
And I would also note, that since the breakup of Yugoslavia, over 130 nations have recognised Macedonia’s constitutional name (The Republic of Macedonia) including the USA, Canada and the UK – but Australia doesn’t,” said Kelly in his response.
Greek City Times along with other Greek Australian politicians, including Tom Koutsantonis MP, have also contacted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office to request that the PM reaffirm Australia’s position on the naming issue of FYROM and make it clear that the Federal Government does not share the views held by Mr Kelly.
Greek City Times will keep you updated with further details and outcomes.