AUSTRALIA: MACEDONIANS IN ALP
Macedonians in the federal electorate of Scullin have won a long fight to start their own ALP branch, despite strong opposition from within their own party.
Unsuccessful attempts to set up a Thomastown West Macedonian branch through the ALP administrative committee last year forced branch representatives to present a controversial motion at the party's state conference in March. Under conference rules, the party must consider any motions put forward, a loophole exploited by the group with the first application for a new branch to the conference.
Branch president Sasha Nackovski (pictured) said the branch was open for business after its first meeting on May 10.
"We had to exploit an ALP loophole to get this branch going," the Mill Park resident said. "This is a very significant victory for my community."" Mr Nackovski said the loophole was used to overturn rejection by the party's state administrative committee. "There was a lot of bad feeling from our community towards the ALP over this," he said. "I had a lot of support from the community. . .time will tell us what the impact over this will be."
Scullin has 753 ALP members in eight branches, including three ethnic branches representing Greek, Italian and Turkish backgrounds.
Whittlesea councillor Stevan Kozmevski, who presented the motion, said it was a 'real battle' to have state delegates see the benefit of having another ethnic-based ALP branch in Scullin. "We were going around and around before the majority agreed at the state conference," he said. "But we overcome every hurdle. This is a real victory." Cr Kozmevski said the Macedonian community would have a real say in the ALP and Victorian politics. "I'm quite sure the Macedonian community will take it on with open arms," he said. "It will be a voice for the Macedonian community within the ALP to express their views."
Mr Nackovski said the aim of the branch was to give Macedonians, especially the younger generation, a voice in the ALP. According to 2001 ABS figures, 6112 Whittlesea residents, or 5.4 per cent, were born in Macedonia, making them the second largest ethnic community living in the city behind Italians.
MD: Something good for the Macedonian community!