The United Australian Lebanese Movement’s Australia Day Award Ceremony 2015



By Marcelle Mansour

The United Australian Lebanese Movement (UALM) held its 17th Annual Australia Day Award Ceremony 2015, on the evening of Thursday 22 January at the Holroyd Centre in Sydney, in conjunction with the Australia Day Council of N.S.W, recognising and honouring the outstanding achievements of Australian Lebanese for their contribution to Australia.

Ms Eva Melham performed the Master of ceremonies (MC), in the presence of His Excellency Bishop Antoine – Charbel Tarabay, Bishop of Maronite NSW Award Recipient ;  Clr Tony Dib  JP Victoria, Mayor of Maroondah City Council, Award Recipient ;  Hon Julie Owens MP, Labor Member for Parramatta in the Australian Parliament and His Excellency Consulate-General of Lebanon Mr George Bitar Ghanem ; Clr Greg Cummings, the Mayor of Holroyd and a number of heads of organizations, distinguished guests , media representatives and community upporters.

Speeches were delivered by Mr Robert Bekhazi UALM Federal President,  Professor George Melhem Representative of UALM NSW,  Mrs Maggie Nakhoul UALM NSW Representative,  The Hon. Phillip Ruddock MP representing Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia,  Dr Tony Rizk UALM Vice President,  Dr Karin Sowada Australia Day Ambassador who is Honorary Associate Archaeologist at Macquarie University New South Wales,  Mr Jonny Merheb UALM Media Representative, Legatee Dennis Zalunardo Chairman of the Parramatta Division Of Sydney Legacy. 

In his speech, the Honourable Phillip Ruddock, MP acknowledged the traditional owners of this land and spoke on behalf of the Hon. Tony Abbott MP of what does being an Australian mean. He stated: being Australian means being a good citizen in respecting the law and the other within the Australian cultural diversity. To celebrate Australia day is not only about barbeque, bushes, beaches and sunbakes, it is about respecting human rights, sanctifying human life and respecting the idea of simply that we humans have the right to live. 

His Excellency Bishop Antoine Cahrbel Tarabay - NSW Award Recipient - delivered a magnificent massage. In his own words, ”Thinking in our country Australia and thinking about what is happening these days, especially in the world of terrorism and fanaticism and what we see around, I am having a symbolic image here...this land is the land of ours, we have work together and the people around us ...the way we celebrate Australia is celebrating the values of this country, laws are made to us and we are here to respect the law of the land ...This land is the land of values...where we have to work together and the people are united, it is in this way that we have to celebrate Australia day by celebrating the values of this country...The laws are made by people and for people as well and we are here as communities respect the law of the land.”

Those two invaluable speeches – I believe - were the highlight of the event, conveying very significant messages to us as Australian citizens who immigrated from various origins and are adopting to our lucky country Australia, at this terrible horrible time that we living in.

The UALM gave many thanks to all who contributed and to all the supporters who attended. The evening concluded with the extending the cocktail party that had begun prior to the awards ceremony where attendees socialising and having memorable photographs of this wonderful ceremony which was very successful.

Congratulations to both his Excellency Bishop Antoine Charbel Tarabay and to Clr Tony Dib, Mayor of Maroondah City Council, for receiving the Australia Day Award from the UALM. Congratulations also to the UALM who is proud to pay tribute to the successes of their Australian Lebanese achievers and to annually celebrate Australia Day with dignity, honour and pride. 

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