NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley delivered a speech in NSW Parliament on Tuesday 16 October to commemorate 50 years of Turkish Migration to Australia.
The first plane load of Turks landed in Australia on 14 October, 1968, following the signing of a bilateral assisted-migration agreement between Turkey and Australia on 5 October, 1967.
Mr Foley hosted four of the passengers on the first flight and their guests in NSW Parliament to watch him speak – Mr Sebehattin Tas, Mr Yasar Kaya, Mr Mehmet Akkoyun and Mrs Tehvide Dolcel. Mr Melih Karalar, Turkish Consul General Sydney and representatives from Turkish media outlets were also present.
“As the Member for Auburn, the spiritual heartland of Turks in NSW and as the leader of the Labor Party I am proud to represent our Turkish Australian community,” Mr Foley said.
He further added, “Members of the Turkish community contribute to all facets of Australian life. They are overrepresented in our professions and business community.”
“I congratulate Australia’s Turkish community on its 50 years of outstanding contribution to Australia’s multicultural fabric. You should be, as we are, proud of your contribution to our great nation,” Mr Foley said.
The agreement for the ‘Residence and Employment of Turkish Citizens in Australia’ was Australia’s first such agreement with a nation outside Western Europe. It saw the first major Muslim community settle in the country and represented a major step in the gradual dismantling of the White Australia policy.
Today, there is an estimated 150,000 Australians of Turkish descent in Australia with an estimated 60,000 living in NSW.
Link to Hansard record of speech: