Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

President highlights importance of family at Sydney meeting

President Katalin Novak said in Sydney on Tuesday that at her talks with Anthony John Abbot, the former prime minister of Australia, she highlighted the importance of the family.

They discussed at their private meeting the possible actions that could be taken against “a demographic ice age” and were joined later by prominent representatives of Australian society, Novak told reporters after the event.

Novak said she told the Australian side that Hungary’s family policy went against the mainstream in so that the real focus of related measures were families.

The president noted that a demographic decline and the challenge it posed could be witnessed over the past 40 years. In addition to seeking out solutions to tackle that challenge, she said, the protection of family values was also highly important. Novak offered to share Hungary’s experience with its measures, and noted the 5th Demographic Summit Budapest hosted in September.

Speaking about the Hungarian diaspora, the president said that close to 100,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Australia who form a community that nurtures its culture and traditions through which they preserve their Hungarian identity. She said one of the main goals of her visit was to maintain relations with the Hungarian diaspora community and celebrate the anniversary of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet revolution with them in a country where they were in great numbers.

After the meeting, Novak visited the Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium, where she met Hungarian sprint canoeist Cecilia Hartmann, who finished fourth in the K-1 500 m event in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. She later placed flowers at the statue of soccer legend Ferenc Puskas who worked as a coach in the city between 1989 and 1992.

Later on Tuesday, serving another goal of her mission as president, Novak met in Melbourne Margaret Elaine Gardner, governor of Victoria, to strengthen relations between Hungary and Australia, Vajk Farkas, the communications director of the president’s office, told public media. They discussed the role of women and strengthening economic relations, Farkas said. He said that the president later gave a talk at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney about demographic challenges faced by western civilisation and about Hungarian family support measures. At the university, the president also met business representatives, Farkas added.

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