Australia Passed Motion to Commemorate Victims of Communism

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
November 17, 2017 Updated: November 19, 2017

The Australian Senate passed a motion on Nov. 16 to call on the federal government to commemorate the victims of communism annually.

Senator Cory Bernardi introduced the motion two days prior in response to President Donald Trump’s proclamation declaring Nov. 7 the “National Day for the Victims of Communism,” a day to commemorate the victims of the exploitation, violence, and untold devastation brought by communism around the world.

He proposed that Australia should also commemorate the victims of communist regimes on Nov. 7 from 2018.

The motion initially did not garner the support from all senators, some of whom thought that it was an issue to be debated.

“[T]he fact is that this is an ideology that has destroyed hundreds of millions of lives and you don’t want to have a motion where we say that it’s terrible and that we should be condemning it,” Bernardi said in response to the objection.

Assistant to the Prime Minister, Senator James McGrath also expressed the importance of commemorating the victims of communism.

“The government agrees that the teachings of Lenin and Marx are completely inconsistent with the values of liberal democracy and freedom,” McGrath said.

“We note the significant numbers of refugees who have come to Australia, fleeing communist regimes, and acknowledge the significant contribution they have made to Australian society,” he added.

Related: Trump Proclaims ‘World Freedom Day’ to Oppose Communism and to Uphold Individual Liberties

According to the Refugee Council of Australia, an organization that researches and influences policies on refugees and asylum seekers, 766,093 refugees and humanitarian entrants were settled in Australia between 1948 to 2012. Many of these refugees came from countries still under communist rule during that period such as Poland, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Vietnam.

Last month, another motion introduced by Bernardi was passed in the Australian Senate in response to an event organized by the Socialist Alternative on Oct. 26 to celebrate the Russian revolution in 1917 at the Australian National University.

That motion states that it recognizes that this year marks 100 years since the Russian revolution which led to a litany of human rights abuses and approximately 10 million deaths and “rejects any assertion that the teachings of Lenin or Marx should be celebrated in a liberal democracy.”


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Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.