I am pleased to be here in the chamber today with the member for Gellibrand, the member for Cunningham, the member for Perth and many others across the political divide who support a rethink on our views towards the Republic of Macedonia. The Republic of Macedonia is a new country but with an ancient history.
It was part of the socialist republic of Yugoslavia between 1945 and 1993, a total of 48 years. Since that time, a whole 22 years, we have had a disagreement in the international forums—sometimes reflected here in Australia—over the proper form of referring to that country. It would be ironic indeed if we were to be referring to the republic by this anachronistic title for longer than it had actually been a part of the republic of Yugoslavia. If we make the sensible and overdue change, we certainly will not be the first. 135 countries have recognised Macedonia under its constitutional name, including our close allies such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada.
In 2012, I was fortunate enough to travel to the republic. I met with the President, Gjorge Ivanov; I met with Mr Poposki, the foreign minister, and I was lucky enough to go to Krusevo on their important national day of Ilinden. I have to say it reminded me a lot of Anzac Day. I think it is time that we completed the picture and recognised them as the Republic of Macedonia.