Thursday, 26 May 2011
Statements by Members
On Saturday 7 May this year, I was privileged to meet with over 200 Australians from Oromia. We met in Flemington in my electorate of Melbourne. Many members of this place may not be aware of the Oromian community and have limited knowledge of the plight of the Oromo people. I certainly did not have a detailed awareness prior to my meeting two weeks ago. I have subsequently learnt that the Oromia region stretches across most of Ethiopia. I have also learnt of the difficulties facing the Oromo people, both those in Oromia, where there is evidence systemic killings have occurred over the past decades, and those who have reached Australian shores, where Oromian Australians often find it difficult to access Oromo translator services as they are presumed to speak other languages from the area.
Members of the Oromo community in Melbourne spoke to me about their desire for self-identification as Oromian Australians as well as their desire for government services to recognise and support their identity. I invited representatives from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Centrelink, Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the local Moonee Valley council to hear the stories of Oromian Australians and to grow an awareness of this Australian community. Thank you to Aliye, Toltu and Ayesha for increasing my knowledge of their community and the ways we can better support this and other communities of newly arrived Australians.