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NSW Parliament in Australia Recognises Holodomor as Genocide

30 October 2013

Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations

The NSW Parliament moved a Motion on the 80th Anniversary of the Holodomor in which it recognised the Holodomor as an act of Genocide .(text below).

The Hon Marie Ficarra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of NSW, hosted an event at Parliament House today to present members of the Ukrainian community with a copy of the Motion.

The event was attended by many representatives of the Ukrainian Community in New South Wales.

Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) Chairman Stefan Romaniw welcomed participants and gave an overview on the national and international activity over many years, raising awareness and seeking recognition  of the Holodomor as Genocide. “Ukraine Remembers – The World Acknowledges  is our motto to ensure that this terrible part of world history is not forgotten and recognised as an act of Genocide. The NSW Motion is another major step in the international community speaking out, ” Mr. Romaniw said, “Today the apologists for Stalin  have nowhere to hide. The facts are on the table and we congratulate  the NSW Parliament  for its strong position.”

He also thanked the Hon. Marie Ficarra for agreeing to travel with the AFUO delegation to Kyiv to participate in the international  commemoration in Kyiv in November 2013.

Marie Ficarra MLA delivered a very moving speech (attached). She acknowledged the efforts of the community and also highlighted the fact that it’s our joint responsibility to ensure that the world is made aware of this part of history.

In her presentation Marie Ficcari  said the following:

 “Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine by the very much respected Dr. Raphael Lemkin, 1953, is now found in the New York Public Library. Dr. Lemkin, who coined the word genocide and authored the UN Convention on Genocide, asserts that “the classic example of the Soviet genocide is the destruction of the Ukrainian nation.” After laying out a clear description of the four-pronged attack against the Ukrainian people: destruction of its intelligentsia, its spiritual leadership, its farmers, and its ethnic unity, he concludes, “This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of the destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.”

The internal policy of the Kremlin and in particular Stalin at the time was to produce the ideal “Soviet Nation” similar to the objectives of mass murderer  Adolf Hitler and his “pure Aryan nation”. The Kremlin proceeded to destroy the nations and cultures that have long inhabited Eastern Europe, in particular  Ukraine.

The fierce independence and nationalism of the Ukrainian people was viewed as the most serious threat to Sovietism. As Lemkin said, “the Ukrainian is not, and has never been, a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion – all are different. He refused to be collectivised, accepting deportation, even death.”

The Holodomor was a Soviet crime against humanity, but the Ukrainian spirit was made stronger by such a failed attempt to destroy it. It resurged and grows stronger within Ukraine – spreading to all its Diaspora who love their heritage, as strongly as they love the lands where they now live.

Ukraine is blessed to have a passionate, caring and loyal Diaspora who work hard to ensure these tragic events are not just relegated to the history books but are taught to generations that follow us and are made known to community and political leaders, so that they may never be allowed to happen again.

Whether it is the Ukrainian, Armenian, the Jewish, Assyrian or Pontian Greek community, we as your Government representatives stand united in our condemnation of such genocides.  There are no partisan political differences when it comes to matters of human rights and recognition of atrocities committed and the evil nature of such.

(end of speech)

Victor Dominello, Minister for Citizenship, Communities and Aboriginal Affairs, read the motion. This was a moving moment!

Marko Shumsky, Acting President of the Ukraine Council of NSW, gave thanks. He highlighted how much the community valued the efforts of Marie Ficarri and others in bringing to the forefront this major issue. He presented a number of publications as an expression of appreciation.

Dr Hlywa, who witnessed this atrocious period of history, spoke of seeing a young boy with his mouth open, not moving, starved to death. “This vision  has been with me all my life and I will take it with me to the grave,” Dr Hlywa said.

Dr Sonia Mycak made an important announcement that Australia’s  lead dictionary, the Macquarie Dictionary, now has  the entry Holodomor, an activity she worked on and acknowledged the efforts of  Les Murray, famous Australian poet, for leading the charge.

Great Famine

/greɪt ˈfæmən/ (say grayt ‘famuhn)

noun any of various major episodes of famine that have affected areas of the world, including: 1.  Also, Potato Famine, Irish Potato Famine, Great Irish Potato Famine, Great Hunger. a famine which occurred in Ireland from 1845 to about 1850, resulting from the failure of the potato crop and exacerbated by the policy of the Anglo-Irish landlords, supported by the British government, of maintaining exports; resulted in the deaths of approximately one million people as well as extensive emigration.

2.  Also, Great Chinese Famine. a famine which occurred in China from 1958 to 1961 thought to have resulted mainly from a change in farming methods instituted by the government of Mao Zedong as part of the Great Leap Forward; resulted in the deaths of many millions of people.

3.  Also, Holodomor. a famine which occurred in Ukraine (then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union) in 1932–33 thought to have resulted mainly from the Stalin government policy of enforced collectivisation of farming; resulted in the deaths of several million people; other areas of the Soviet Union also affected.

The AFUO extends its thanks to:

The Hon. Marie Ficarra MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier of NSW and Chair of the Ukrainian Ministerial Consultative Committee;

The Hon. Victor Dominello, Minister for Citizenship, Communities and Aboriginal Affairs;

The Hon. Rev. Fred Nile MLC, Assistant President of the NSW Legislative Council and Leader of the Christian Democratic Party;

The Hon. David Clarke MLC, Ministry of Justice

The Hon. Amanda Fazio MLC, Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council, who with David Clarke spoke to the motion.

All attended the event.

The AFUO also extends its thanks to AFUO  Public Relations Director Peter Shmigel for his leadership and efforts in this matter

Eightieth Anniversary of “Holodomor” (Proof)Extract from NSW Legislative Council Hansard and Papers Thursday 17 October 2013 (Proof).


Motion by the Hon. MARIE FICARRA agreed to:

That this House:

(a) notes that 2013 is the eightieth anniversary of the “Holodomor”, an enforced famine in Ukraine caused by the deliberate actions of Stalin’s Communist Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic [USSR];

(b) recalls that it is estimated up to seven million Ukrainians starved to death as a result of Stalin’s policies in 1932 to 1933 alone;

(c) condemns this act of genocide aimed at destroying the national, cultural, religious and democratic aspirations of the Ukrainian people;

(d) condemns all other acts of genocide during the twentieth century as the ultimate manifestations of racial, ethnic or religious hatred and violence;

(e) honours the memory of those who lost their lives during the “Holodomor”;

(f) resolves to annually mark the “Holodomor” on or about the international “Holodomor Remembrance Day”, being 24 November;

(g) joins the Ukrainian Australian community and the international community, including 16 sovereign governments who have formally recognised the “Holodomor” genocide, in commemorating this tragic milestone; and

(h) recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated.

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