Bangladeshi Friends of Labor Launched

Bangladeshi Friends of Labor Launched

PRESS RELEASE: Melbourne, March 13, 2015

Bangladeshi Friends of Labor (BFOL), a grassroot level supporter group of Australian Labor Party, was officially launched under the banner of the Subcontinent Friends of Labor (SFOL) on March 13, 2015 at the National Union of Workers Office in Docklands, Victoria. The launching ceremony was dedicated as a tribute to former Labor Leader, Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Hon Edward Gough Whitlam.

The launch was officiated by the Speaker of Victorian Legislative Assembly Hon Telmo Languiller MP, Federal Representative for Hotham Hon Clare O’Neil MP and Hon Premier’s Ministerial Adviser Jasvinder SIdhu. The program was also graced by Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement and former Adviser of the Federal Government Adam Collins and President of the Australia Bangladesh Association in Victoria Mr Reza Siddique.

The discussion in honour of Hon Gough Whitlam addressed by Head of Geopolitics, Business and Government Research Cluster at RMIT University and Adviser of BFOL Associate Professor Sharif As-Saber, President of BFOL Mustafa Hasan Yusuf and Endeavour Scholar and Doctoral Candidate at Monash University Ifti Rashid. The speakers paid their rich tributes to Labor Leader Hon Whitlam as a true committed friend of Bangladesh, recognizing his invaluable role in Australia, Commonwealth and other countries recognizing the newly independent country. They expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Hon Whitlam to extend a helping hand to the Bangladesh government and people to rebuild the country in those early years.

In his speech as the Chief Guest, Speaker Hon Telmo Languiller MP highlighted how Prime Minister Hon Whitlam’s policies of political, social and economic reforms changed Australia to make it an inclusive, diverse and multicultural country. He mentioned his own experience as a refugee, encouraging the South Asian and Bangladeshi-Australian community members to play a greater role in the political process of Australia. “I know Bangladeshi-Australians already play an important role in our academia, I hope they will also play an equally important role in our politics following the legacy of Prime Minister Hon Whitlam,” he said. He called upon all community members to continue supporting Labor for the welfare of Australia.

In her speech, Hon Clare O’Neil MP paid tributes to Labor Leader Hon Whitlam’s contributions to Bangladesh as the Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister. “As Leader of the Opposition, Hon Whitlam supported the freedom fighters of Bangladesh. He lobbied for the recognition of Bangladesh internationally. I can assure you that the Labor Party continued his legacy to support Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi-Australian community today,” she emphasized. Hon Clare O’Neil MP lauded the contribution of the South Asian diaspora in Australia and hoped community members will play a bigger role in the Labor Party in coming months.

BFOL President Mustafa Hasan Yusuf informed the audience that BFOL has been launched with the same vision of SFOL to raise the awareness of the Australian political process in the Bangladeshi-Australian and broader South Asian community. “BFOL will be platform to integrate members of the Bangladeshi-Australian community with the Australian Labor Party for us to contribute to stand by the party and contribute to local politics in a constructive manner,” he said.

The objective of BFOL is to become a platform:

• To raise awareness about the Australian political process in our community, to participate in the political process as one unified group and to contribute to the local politics in a constructive way.

• To integrate interested members of the Bangladeshi Community with Australian Labor Party

• To Create future leaders for the Bangladeshi community as well as for the wider community that we are a part of.

• To act as a conduit for Bangladeshi Communities’ relationship with the Sub Continental communities living in Australia.

• To strengthen the relationship between Australia and Bangladesh

A score of distinguished guests from the broader Subcontinent community and the Labor party attended the ceremony, including SFOL founding member Mr.Satinder Chawla, Cr. Geoff Lake, Nepalese Community Elder Mr.Bom Yonzon, Bangladeshi Community Elder Mr.Kamrul Chowdhury and Social Worker Mr.Nazrul Islam amongst others.

The BFOL team comprises of President Mustafa Hasan Yusuf, Vice President Lubna Kamal, General Secretary Ashraful Alam, Treasurer Ajmul Huda, Culture Secretary Saad Ghani, New Members Secretary Taj Uddin and Community Liasion Secretary Milia Morshed.

Advisers of BFOL are Deepak Vinayak JP from South Asia Community Link Group (SACLG), Guri Sing from Australian Multicultural Organization (AMO), Hon Premier’s Ministerial Adviser Jasvinder Sidhu and Associate Professor Sharif As-Saber from RMIT.

The group is honoured to have Speaker Hon Telmo Languiller MP and Hon Clare O’Neil MP as their Patrons.

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