Assyrian statue supporters hit back at MP

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THE Assyrian Universal Alliance has launched a scathing attack on Fowler Federal Labor MP Julia Irwin after she refused to support their plans to turn a Bonnyrigg park into a cultural shrine.

In last week’s Fairfield Advance Ms Irwin said the plans to rename the public park the Garden of Nineveh and erect a 4.5m high statue to honour to victims of Assyrian genocide would divide the community.

Instead she suggested Fairfield Council build a monument to honour the contribution of all migrants.

Alliance spokesman Hermiz Shahen said Ms Irwin was insensitive towards the Assyrian people.

“The comments made in last week’s paper were nothing but a disappointing and disparaging speech made by a federal member of parliament,” he said.

“She is discriminating against the majority of Assyrians by supporting a minority of her constituents.”

Both Ms Irwin and Fairfield Council senior policy adviser Tiffany Lee-Shoy said they had received many phone calls about the proposal, set for the unnamed park at the corner of Elizabeth Drive and Smithfield Rd.

Ms Lee-Shoy said the council was consulting with six stakeholder groups – including the Multicultural Advisory Committee and Bonnyrigg Town Centre Committee – to scope out community support for the proposal.

Although everyone was invited to comment on the plans, she said the council would not be posting letters to people who lived near the park, but would instead rely on the media and word of mouth to communicate the proposal.

At 4.5m high, the monument is likely to be seen from the backyards of people in Attilio Pl, McCrea Cl, Astley Pl and Marciano Cl, Edensor Park, as well as several homes in Bonnyrigg Heights.

“It’s word of mouth, I have discovered, that is more effective than an actual letterbox drop,” she said.

The plans have sparked intense debate online at fairfieldadvance.com.au and have been discussed on talkback radio.

NSW RSL president Don Rowe said his organisation would only object to the plans if the word ‘Anzac’ was used in the proposal.

“We are not really supporting it but we are not really against it either,” he said.

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