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Luncheon on the occasion of the visit
by Prof. Dr. Boštjan Žekš,
Minister for Slovenians Abroad,
NSW Parliament House, Speakers Dining Room, 1st October 2010.

Welcome speech by
Alfred Brežnik

Mr. Minister, prof. Boštjan Žekš and Mrs. Žekš, The Hon. John Aquilina, MP, Dr. Zvone Žigon, Charge d’Affaires, Slovenian Embassy, distinguished guests.

Firstly, allow me to thank our good friend, The Hon. John Aquilina, for yet again being our Parliamentary Host. I don’t know what we would do without you, Mr. Aquilina. I have lost count of how many years you have hosted Slovenian events in this Parliament. These include annual receptions for the Slovenia’s National Day, special lunches for visiting Slovenian dignitaries in this, the Speaker’s Dining Room, and help during Slovenia’s presidency of the EU. No wonder so many heads of the Consular Corps turn to you for advice and assistance. Beside his busy and demanding role in the NSW Parliament, Mr. Aquilina is also the Founder and President of the EU - Parliamentary Friendship Group, of which our Consulate is a member. For this, Mr. Aquilina, once again my most sincere thanks.

I would also like to thank The Hon. Amanda Fazio, MLC, the President of the Legislative Council of this, the oldest and most prestigious Parliament in Australia, for kindly accepting my invitation and joining us at the luncheon today.

Mr. Minister and Mrs. Žekš, welcome to Sydney and our state of New South Wales. This is a rare occasion for our Slovenian Community for two reasons. You are the first Slovenia Government Minister for Slovenians Abroad and you are the first minister to visit so many Slovenian Communities throughout Australia. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy. Rather then listening to me, you may also wish to say something about this visit.

But first, Mr. Minister, they call Australia ‘the lucky country’ and this also applies to Slovenian migrants. Our people, as the people of other ethnic origins, have been treated with respect and fairness. We have been able to teach our children their mother tongue, establish our own language schools, build clubs, churches and have been given boundless opportunities. Our own Tanya Plibersek is an example of this, by achieving such a high office. Before her, we also had Australia’s first non-Anglo-Saxon Senator, the late Senator Misha Lajovic. There are also Slovenians in many state and local government positions. We have university lecturers, professors, scientists, artists, business executives and many law abiding citizens. I want to say, Mr. Minister, that we have been treated well and Australians of Slovene background are grateful and proud to be part of this great country. And at the same time we continue to be very proud of our Slovenian heritage, as you have no doubt experienced during your visit. Thank you.   

Foto utrinki
obiska Ministra dr. Boštjana Žekša in delegacije iz Slovenije v

parlament NSW

parlament NSW



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