Celebrating Slovenia Statehood Day - Speech by Mr Alfred Brežnik
Speech by Former Honorary Consul General Mr Alfred Breznik in Slovenian Association Sydney on Sunday, 22 June 2014
Dear President of Slovenian Association Sydney Mr Štefan Šernek and Mrs
Ana Šernek, dear Board and Association Members, representatives of Slovenian
organisation, guests, dear friends,
In the absence of both representatives of the Republic of Slovenia, the
Ambassador and the newly appointed Honorary Consul for NSW Mr Anthony Tomažin,
our president Štefan asked me to give a speech to celebrate 23rd anniversary of
It is good to see so many people gathered together every year at the Slovenian
Association Sydney to celebrate this historically most important day for our
nation that took place 23 years ago: the birth of our independent state, the
Republic of Slovenia, on 25 June 1991. It is our custom to start this ceremony with
a mass at the Marija pomagaj Chapel
that we erected on this beautiful block of land of our Association when we
celebrated 15th anniversary of Slovenia statehood. I am pleased that we started
our celebration with a holy mass. Our homeland needs again, just like 23 years ago, our prayer and God's help. We all know that in our beloved homeland not
everything is right, including in economy, social welfare, law and diplomacy.
It is appropriate that we remember every year what our country went through
twenty-three years ago; that we revisit this event and pass our awareness onto
next generations. For us, this day should be as important as ANZAC Day for
Australians. Just as Australians celebrate and respect the fight of their
ancestors of almost one hundred years ago, so should our youth know and respect
the SLOVENIA STATEHOOD DAY which stands for the fight and causalities that were
needed to gain independence. This applies to us and our descendants here in
Australia. We are the generation that not only saw the beginning of
independence of our country of birth, we also took part in its creation from
the very beginning. The Slovenian migrants, including Australian Slovenians,
could dream, write and talk about an independent Slovenian state, while it was forbidden and even dangerous to life for our fellow Slovenians in our homeland to
do the same. Australian Slovenians can confidently and proudly say that we
contributed to Slovenia's independence and the final recognition of the new
country, Republic of Slovenia, especially by Australia. At the time, our aim was not only independence, we also wanted to create a truly democratic country modelled on western countries that are built on centuries old Christian values that are the basis of our European civilisation, culture and human rights.
On 8 May this year, Slovenia also celebrated 25th anniversary of the May
Declaration. Representatives of opposition movements signed the May Declaration
in Kongresni trg and demanded a
sovereign state for the Slovenian nation. This celebration was attended by the
President of the Republic of Slovenia Mr Borut Pahor who thanked everyone for
making the event back then possible, organising it and showing their courage.
The May Declaration was the foundation of all our demands. The new government
should be based on three independent pillars - executive, legislative and
judiciary. I wish to emphasise the word 'independent'! Whether this is true today is another question.
Let us first have a look at the Slovenian economy. Slovenia was in the first
years of independence at the top as a model country. Today, it is at the bottom
in the EU. The unemployment rate has reached 13.4% in April this year; among the
unemployed it is mostly young people who can't find work. The country debt has
risen from 8 to 28 billion EUR which translates into around 14,000 EUR per
citizen. In other words, it has reached 75% of Slovenia GDP. The icons of
Slovenian economy are disintegrating. Tycoons who made huge profits hid this
'stolen' money in foreign banks, in so called 'tax havens'. Not to even mention
corruption which is reaching a catastrophic level in Slovenia. And who is footing the bill? Our Slovenian people!
Let us have a look how the Slovenian legal system works. A recent survey shows
that the legal system in Slovenia is trusted only by 24% of the population. In
the light of the events that took place last Friday, on 20 June 2014, this
percentage will probably fall much further.
Dear friends, very dark clouds are gathering over Slovenia. This day will
remain in our national history remembered as the Black Friday - the day when
the Slovenian rule of law reached its lowest level. On this day, a great
Slovenian; our friend; the most dedicated fighter for independent Slovenia; the
first Minister of Defence; a two-time prime minister; a president of the EU; the
leader of SDS, the largest opposition party in the Slovenian parliament, Janez Janša
was taken to the Dob prison.
The high court sentenced Janez Janša to two years in prison for accepting a
promise of reward from an unknown briber in an unknown place at an unknown time
in an unknown manner!
The charges were built on indicia with no evidence whatsoever. Even though this
case was running over four years and Mr Janša was convicted back in April 2014,
he was ordered to start serving his sentence only last Friday, at the beginning
of a campaign leading to general elections that will take place on 13
And how is such sentence possible in a democratic country that Slovenia is
supposed to be? Many Slovenian, European and other international lawyers are
asking the same question: among them three former and current constitutional
judges in Slovenia. We are convinced that this sentence will be overturned
sooner or later; however, for general elections in July it will be too late.
This is another proof that these proceedings have been politically motivated
from the beginning. However, this is nothing new, as this kind of things happen
to Mr Janez Janša prior to every elections. He has been the archenemy of the transitional
left which controls all pillars of power including most media since the first
day of independence. Their motto 'First disqualification and then liquidation, even
physical if necessary' still applies!
Last Friday Mr Janša became a political prisoner for the second time: the first
time in 1989 as one of the defendants in the JBTZ trial. At that time he was
released after a big public protest attended by 35,000 Slovenians. The sentence
was later repealed. The same thing will happen again. This verdict will not
hold! It will be overturned! And the prosecutors and judges who are guilty of
this shameful judgment will then have to apologise and defend their unjust
acts, and so will the Slovenian government. At the end of the day, the truth
and justice will prevail!
Dear fellow Slovenians and friends, I am very sorry that I am so negative in my
speech today. To tell you the truth, I am very sad. The fact is that our
homeland is in trouble: we need to see the true situation in which Slovenia
finds itself today after 23 years of independence. Part of the blame falls also
on Slovenian voters who refuse to vote. 'What's the point, they are all the
same!' they say. It is a pity that voting is not compulsory like in our
Janez Janša was on the way to prison accompanied by around 4000 supporters. And
what about us? The question is, can Slovenians in Australia help to improve the
situation in our country of birth? I believe that we can. And if you have any
ideas or wish to help, come and talk to me, we'll think about this together.
Our gaining independence 23 years ago and finally having our own country is for
the Slovenian nation still the greatest event in our history. Let me thus
conclude: My sincere congratulations on 23rd anniversary of independent state