AFUO and AUCC event to promote OzUKES2016

AFUO and AUCC event to promote OzUkes 2016 Bilateral Business Forum in Kyiv in late 2016 and to farewell Australian Ambassador Doug Trappett. A wonderful
Networking and social event well attended by Ukrainians and Aussie expats living in Ukraine.

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Former PM Tony Abbott mobbed after shirtfront mention as he receives Ukrainian freedom gong in Melbourne

November 25, 2015


FORMER PM Tony Abbott was mobbed by Ukrainian community supporters today after
he recalled his famous “shirtfront” comment against Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Abott is popular among the Ukrainian community at the OzUke forum. Picture: Mike Keating

Mr Abbott received a hero’s welcome at an Australia-Ukraine business forum in Carlton where he was given an inaugural freedom award for his support of Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The former PM had taken a strong stance against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and its alleged involvement in the shooting down of passenger jet MH17.

“(I wanted) in particular to assert universal decencies of mankind against their violators whether that be a terrorist caliphate or a Russian president that needed shirtfronting,” he said.

“I have to say that in those two years (as PM) almost nothing has given me more satisfaction than working with Ukraine and your splendid president at this critical time in the life of our countries.”


Tony Abbott receives his award from Stefan Romanin AFUO Chairman. Picture: Mike Keating

The OzUke 2015 forum had earlier seen video messages from Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and mining magnate Andrew Forrest.

Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations chairman Stefan Romaniw praised Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop for their courage in standing up to Mr Putin on issues of freedom and sovereignty.

“You changed the diplomatic rhetoric and called a spade a spade,” he told Mr Abbott.

“You led the charge.”

Mr Abbott was mobbed by dozens of delegates at the conference, including attendees from Ukraine, after receiving the AFUO award.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia Dr Mykola Kulinich said that Mr Abbott had acted decisively in support of freedom and other Western values.

“He understood that it was a critical, crucial time to say what he said.”

“I’m very sure that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will go on supporting Ukraine and we are looking forward with optimism to work with him.”

Mr Abbott declined to speak to media after the event.

(Re-posted from )

Ukranian Jews discussed in Melbourne

December 2, 2015

The inaugural Australia-Ukraine Bilateral Relations Forum has been held in Melbourne and included a discussion on the role of the Jewish comm
unity in modern Ukraine

Jeremy Jone654+6s addresses the forum

The forum also discussed relations between Jewish and Ukrainian communities in Australia.

The high-powered gathering, which included politicians, diplomats, business leaders and
civil society representatives from Australia and Ukraine, involved parallel sessions focusing on economics and social concerns, and plenaries including all participants.

At the plenary on Civil Society, the two presenters were Scott Connolly, Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Jeremy Jones, Director of International and of Community Affairs for the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

In the course of his opening comments and discussion with participants, Jeremy Jones and Ukrainian community leaders spoke of parallel concerns, such as the campaign for human rights in the Soviet Union, difficulties in the relationship which were resolved through frank and open dialogue, with examples being the Nazi War Crimes’ debate and trials and the “Demidenko Affair”, common concerns for multiculturalism, and the vital  contribution to modern Ukraine by Jewish figures such as Joseph Zissels, Chairman of the General Council of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

Mr Jones discussed concerns regarding antisemitism, and also the way Jews refused to be political playthings in Eastern European political debates.

He reported on his two visits to Kiev – the first to meet the Jewish community and the second to participate in an OSCE meeting focusing on racism.

Shortly after the second visit, the Maidan Square protests began, and the environmental campaigners, predominantly rights workers and religious activists he had befriended have kept him updated on the dynamics of Ukrainian life today.

Stefan Romaniw, Former Multicultural Commissioner of Victoria and Chairman of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, publicly thanked Mr Jones for his friendship with Ukraine and Ukrainian Australians, and also acknowledged Jewish community leaders, such as Isi Leibler and Colin Rubenstein, who had made “outstanding contributions” to Australian multiculturalism.

“It was an amazing honour to be invited to participate in, let alone address, a Forum with such a high quality of contributions and delegates”, Mr Jones said.

“The openness of the discussions and the commitment to working for Australia and for the relationship between this country and Ukraine was extraordinary, impressive, and I hope that the Dialogue goes from strength to strength”, Mr Jones concluded.

(Re-posted from


Speakers Update

Planning for OzUke2015, the inaugural Australia-Ukraine bilateral relations forum, is strongly proceeding with a range of key speakers now confirmed.

The forum – on November 25 and 26 in Melbourne, Victoria – will focus on growing Australian-Ukrainian ties at the business and NGO levels.

Here are some of the speakers:

• Stefan Romaniw, former Multicultural Commissioner of Victoria & AFUO Chairman
• Oleh Rybachuk, Center UA Chairman
• Mykola Kulinych, Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia
• Jason Collins, Executive Director, European Australian Business Chamber
• Matthew Guy, Victorian Leader of the Opposition
• Inna Borzylo, Centre UA CEO
• Suelette Dreyfus, Executive Director, Blueprint For Free Speech
• Josef Zissels, Vice President, World Jewish Council
• Dr Sev Ozdowski, Chair, Australian Multicultural Council
• Jeremy Jones, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council
• Amanda Tattersall, Sydney Alliance
• Scott Connolly, Australian Council of Trade Unions
• Gary Dawson, CEO, Australian Food & Grocery Council
• John Hosken, Executive General Manager, Webster Limited
• Daniel José Marie, CEO, Interventure
• Andrew Stead, Director of New Ventures, Nicta
• Kyrylo Medvediev & Olga Oleinikova, Persolo
• Matthew Warren, CEO, Energy Supply Association of Australia
• Frederick Darby, Linc Energy
• Mark Rowbottam, Aleator Energy
• Dr Petro Matiaszek, President AUCC
• Kateryna Kharovska, AUCC NSW representative
• Lena Koszarna, CEO Horizon Capital

On-line registration for the forum and Gala Dinner featuring the inaugural Ukraine-Australia Freedom Awards will soon be open. Cost will be $300.

Community-Based Organisations Work For Australia-Ukraine Ties – Inaugural Bilateral Conference To Be Held

An inaugural Ukraine/Australia relations conference series will be held in late 2015 on the initiative of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) and Centre UA.
OzUke2015 will be a bilateral event at the NGO level to promote greater bilateralism between Australia and Ukraine in a new era of cooperation.
Stefan Romaniw, President of AFUO, the peak body for the Ukrainian Australian community, said: “Now is the time to build greater ties between Ukrainian society and Australian society for the benefit of both. Our countries are geographically far away but we strongly share democratic values and the spirit of mateship.
“There are great potential synergies at the civil society, ethical business, sport, and cultural levels, but these aspects need to be actively cultivated, and we wish to do so with our excellent partners at Centre UA, who have have a great track-record in the democratisation process in Ukraine,” Mr Romaniw said.
Oleh Rybachuk, Head of Centre UA, a leading pro-reform Ukraine-based NGO, said: “There’s much of interest in Australia for Ukrainian citizens. It’s a highly advanced democracy; it has huge economic prosperity that relies on socially-responsible free market operators, and; from the Prime Minister down, it’s been a great friend to Ukraine in its time of need.
“Ukraine’s sovereignty and democratic progress in part in rely on Ukraine being a global citizen. Every step counts and we are delighted to be working with AFUO on OzUke2015’ to take an important one forward,” Mr Rybachuk said.
The OzUke2015 conference series will have both a Melbourne round and a Kyiv round. With speakers from both countries, conference themes will include developing socially-responsible business practices, promoting anti-corruption best practice, and fostering civil society organisations and youth leadership.
OzUke2015 conference organisers have begun to reach out to stakeholders who may wish to support and participate in the conference program, including business organisations, community activists and respective governments.
Delegations from Ukraine to Australia and vice versa, including with youth and business leaders, will be organised to coincide with the respective OzUke2015 sessions.
The organisation of OzUke2015 will be led by Ms Inna Borzylo, CEO Centre UA, and Pete Shmigel, Public Affairs Director AFUO.