Over 800 people attended the Australian Middle East (AME) Media 4th annual Gala dinner held at the Bellevue in Bankstown last night.
AME Media is the publisher of El Telegraph newspaper, Australia’s oldest and largest publication as well as other titles including Al Anwar, Anoujoum, the Middle East Online and El Telegraph Weekend.
AME Media Chairman Mr. Wally Wehbe said, “the event not only united the community but also acted as celebration of our diverse nation and the significance of ethnic media in representing Australian communities.”
Distinguished guests in attendance included the Hon. Bill Shorten, Leader of the Opposition, Dr Geoff Lee – State MP for Parramatta, who represented the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Mike Baird and the Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane – MLC, who represented the Opposition Leader of NSW, the Hon. Luke Foley.
In addressing the crowd, Mr. Shorten took the opportunity to congratulate AME Media and hard working Arab migrants in the community. “It takes courage to live a place where you first lived, laughed and had great memories to start a new life,” he said.
Mr. Shorten also acknowledged the importance of independent media in Australia. “It’s great to see a publisher that is independently owned representing the community. I pay tribute to El Telegraph newspaper, the largest and oldest Arabic newspaper in the country, for representing and serving the community.”
Editor in Chief of El Telegraph newspaper Mr. Tony Kazzi captivated the crowd with Arabic poetry and AME Media Adviser Mr. Barry Barakat commented on the changing landscape of ethnic media and its growing readership.
The entertainers of the evening were music composer, Alex Hadchiti and the Al Dababir comedians who performed a satirical skit addressing cultural hypocrisy with impersonations and hilarious political commentary.
The night ended with the Prime Minister’s message read out by Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. In his message the Prime Minister the Hon. Tony Abbott commended the hard work of migrant communities and acknowledged the significance of multicultural media in Australia in promoting harmony.
Arab Bank Australia was the major sponsor of the evening. ” We are proud to be the major sponsor of this successful event [Gala dinner] for the fourth consecutive year, as it’s important to acknowledge the history of the Middle Eastern community in Australia and celebrate diversity and progress, ” said CEO of the Arab Bank Mr. Joe Rizk OAM.
In 2013, the New South Wales Parliament acknowledged Australian Middle East Media as being “Australia’s largest non-government media enterprise serving Australians of Middle Eastern heritage” and the House congratulated Australian Middle East Media and its Chairman for “its service to Australians of Middle Eastern heritage in keeping them more fully informed, by way of its publications, on local, national, and international matters.”