Call for recognition of Macedonia by constitutional name

Visit_to_Macedonian_Community_Centre_16_nov12_018.jpgTonight I am calling for bipartisan political leadership to recognise the Republic of Macedonia under that constitutional name. It is unfortunate that in Australia we are expected to use the anachronistic name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in formal address. The constitutional name of the republic is the Republic of Macedonia. One hundred and thirty-five countries have recognised Macedonia under its constitutional name, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, China, India, Indonesia and many others in our region.

The antecedents for the use of the anachronistic name go back into history. The Republic of Macedonia declared its independence from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 17 September 1991. It is well known that Greece objected to Macedonia's application to join the United Nations under its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia, leading to the country being admitted to the United Nations under the provisional name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1993. Since that time negotiations to resolve the naming dispute have been held under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, but no agreement has been reached.

Australia and Macedonia enjoy friendly relations based on sharing common interests, common values and 100-year-strong people-to-people ties. I personally experienced the strong bond of friendship between our nations during my visit to Macedonia last year. Formal relations between our two countries were established in 1994. Australia recognised Macedonia, under the anachronistic name, as an independent state on 15 February 1994.

It is a matter of historic record that the Yugoslav Republic was in existence for 48 years. It was constituted of six republics: Bosnia, Herzegovina; Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia and Macedonia. It would be perverse if Macedonia, which has existed now for 22 years—and for 48 years as a state bearing that name within the republic of Yugoslavia—was still referred to as a former republic of Yugoslavia for longer than the existence of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia itself.

I am pleased to inform the House that the Macedonian community in the Illawarra is by far the largest ethnic community in the region, with well over 25,000 members. Macedonian migrants in the Illawarra arrived in large numbers during the period 1960 to 1975. Macedonians have made an immense contribution to our postwar economic effort and formed a large part of the workforce, particularly in the heavy industries like the iconic Port Kembla steelworks. Today, the subsequent generations of the Macedonian community are well established in various trades, professions and business in many electorates across Australia and they make a fantastic contribution.

However, it remains unfinished business for this proud community that their home country is not recognised here under its constitutional name. For the last 22 years, the Macedonian community in Australia has sought every opportunity to draw attention to this issue. I am pleased to note that the Macedonian community has organised a gala dinner in Sydney on 5 July 2013 to celebrate the advancement of Australian and Macedonian relations. This event creates an opportunity for a long-overdue act of bipartisan recognition. It is a position that could be embraced by all sides of politics. Nothing would be more significant that a bipartisan agreement to recognise Macedonia by its constitutional name.

I understand that the Macedonian will be shortly recommending to the President of Macedonia and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia to name prominent streets in the capital Skopje after the Hon. Senator Bob Carr and the Hon. Julie Bishop in recognition of their leadership and their importance. Let them truly earn this honour by this act of recognition and join other countries in acknowledgement of the importance of the Macedonian community to Australia's history and its culture.

Showing 17 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2014-12-26 09:52:51 +1100
  • commented 2013-10-01 09:32:19 +1000
  • commented 2013-07-05 23:52:56 +1000
    I guess the labour party supports maps such as that displayed in front of the FYROM community hall in stewart street wollongong showing half of greece on it. im one of those that wont be voting labour (for the first time in many years) many others, like me, will be doing the same. Do the right thing, Australians demand it of you
  • commented 2013-06-08 08:51:15 +1000
    Dear Mr. Steven Jones MP,
    The Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC) is an incorporated association which conducts itself as an arm of the Pan-Macedonian Federation of Australia (PMFA). The PMFA is the peak representative body of Macedonian Greeks in Australia, who number around 200,000. AMAC is also a member of the Australian Hellenic Council (AHC), the peak representative body of the Australian-Greek community – up to 1 million strong.
    On 5 June 2013, you made a call for the bipartisan leadership to recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) under their constitutional name ( AMAC wishes to strongly object to your call, and would appreciate a prompt response on your behalf stating the reasons for the call and a retraction of the call. Additionally, we remind you this call stands alone against the Labor Party’s clear policy on this issue of upmost importance to the Australian-Greek community.
    Australia does not recognize FYROM under its constitutional name, and this official sanction complies with the stance of the UN, the EU and NATO on the matter and is to be highly commended since recognition under its constitutional name would impart lack of disambiguation, especially by insinuating ties with the kingdom of Ancient Macedonia. Here, we reference a cultural legacy to which the people of this newly formed nation have no viable claim, as confirmed by 370 classicists ( In addition, Australia´s position deters FYROM from any territorial claims their government might incite against the Greek province of Macedonia, which is one major point of the dispute it has with the Hellenic Republic.

    The Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC) elucidates that acknowledging this nation under its provisional name (FYROM) until a mutually-accepted resolution is wrought will prevent further ambiguity of a highly convoluted affair.

    Yours sincerely,
    Australian Macedonian Advisory Council (AMAC)
  • commented 2013-06-07 23:02:58 +1000
    Both our communities have lived in Australia peacefully for many decades, with many intermarriages within our mutual orthodox faith. We share many familiar traditions and ethics. Both communities have contributed to making Australia a rich and productive nation.

    We both have shared a tragic balkan history and Ottoman oppression that still resonates to this generation. Political opportunist have often attempted for decades to splinter this natural friendship. Our worst times occurring during WW2, with many atrocities to both communities, with what was the first proxy hot war of the longer Cold War.

    I hope that you are not like those politicians, solely seeking electoral gain, and contribute to mutually acceptable confidence measures for both our ancestral homes. Regardless of your future leadership, our parents, who have worked together in Australian industries from the Snowy Mountain project in the 50’s, and our peers who work together developing Australia’s future, will continue to be good friends. Discounting the slanders trolls from both communities on other posts.

    Good luck, from a Spartan.
  • commented 2013-06-07 21:33:35 +1000
    Listen to your own president you moron….. We are Slavs who came to this area…… We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians . How dare you try to take something that is not rightfully yours!!!!!
  • commented 2013-06-07 16:17:00 +1000
    Mr Jones I want to ask if you know what the star of Vergina represent. The Vergina star has 16 rows. 12 of them represent the 12 major ancient Greek Gods and the other 4 represent the 4 elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. I’m looking forward for your answer…
  • commented 2013-06-07 09:41:42 +1000
    As a Greek Macedonian im not only insulted by labour, but i’m also disgusted that labour appears to support revisionist history. I trust you will do the correct thing & that is stop this utter nonsense & apologies to the Greek community. Please educate your self of the facts before getting involved into issues you do not understand or know nothing of. I thought all along that labour was about fairness & common sense & not about dividing the community. Macedonia is part of Greece as is Sparta, & Attica etc to name a few.
  • commented 2013-06-07 08:56:57 +1000
    Stephen Jones you disgracefull person, do you know who the most famous Macedonian in history is? His name is Alexander the Great! Now was Alexander Greek or a Slav? Everyone knows he was Greek. Mr Jones, your Slav friends are thiefs , of Both the Greek name Macedonia and of our history including Alexander. Mr Jones you want to try and further your political career by aligning yourself with the Slavs? Us Greek Australians outnumber them 20-1 get ready for the back lash now and we wait your apology
  • commented 2013-06-07 00:48:20 +1000
    This is rubbish, we are all dumber for reading your ignorant view on this matter. It will never be recognised as Macedonia…..upper region of Macedonia……maybe. Good luck on getting the street names…..nice kickback for your mates.
  • commented 2013-06-07 00:39:27 +1000
    I guess with 25,000 potential votes its in your best interest to rewrite history! How about you focus on real issues here in Australia and not a dillusional minority trying to conjure up an identity and using uneducated twats like yourself to further their cause.
  • commented 2013-06-07 00:16:12 +1000
    Dear Australians, this not just about a name! It is about a Slavonic people who should be very proud of their Slavonic (Slav) identity and Slavonic language.

    The Slavonic people migrated south from Russia and The Ukraine slowly over many centuries, leaving behind them many people that settled in the lands along this trail and arriving in the Balkans and northern Greece and in the ancient Greek province (city-state) of Macedonia in the 6th to 7th century A.D.

    Now the people (only the Slav population of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) “not the Albanians that make up 35% of the population, nor the other minorities that make up THE POPULATION OF F.Y.R.O.M” but only the Slavs .are asking for the name of Macedonia, the same name as the province in Northern Greece!

    Why do they claim to be the real Macedonians when they are not?
    Why do they claim to speak Macedonian when they actually speak a Slavonic language, which is 95% the same as Bulgarian?

    The real ancient Macedonians spoke Greek, there is no such language as Macedonian!!!

    Why do the Slavs of F.Y.R.O.M. want to steal the identity and heritage from the real Greek Macedonians???

    Is it because they want to legitimize with these false claims, the right to demand in the various international forums a big chunk of Northern Greece, namely the province of Greek Macedonia???

    Australians please think seriously about the implications involved before making a decision on this very important international matter!!!
  • commented 2013-06-07 00:02:26 +1000
    Stephen Jonovski!
  • commented 2013-06-07 00:02:04 +1000
    You have no ideal Stephen Jones, Why don’t you just call them by there real constitutional name Vardaska ? stop stealing our history!!!!
  • commented 2013-06-06 23:38:13 +1000
    Can anyone ignorant become a politician ? Ur ignorance and arrogance of the Macedonian issue is a disgrace. You need to start reading your history books and stop encouraging the expansonist ideals of FYROM
  • commented 2013-06-06 23:34:12 +1000
    Disgraceful from you Mr Stephen Jones you obviously have no sense nor idea about the history of the region.
  • commented 2013-06-06 23:32:31 +1000
    do you know your history mate what rubbish is this