ASIO and Italian ‘persons of interest’: A History of Sydney’s Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF)
Pages: 238 page
When an organisation was an “ethnic’ one, drawing support, ideas and inspiration from its foreign mentor, claims of sedition, treason, subversion and of being un-Australian were levelled without hard evidence, justified only by the abysmal ignorance of the motivations, aspirations and actual policies pursued by this organisation.
This was the case for the Federation of Italian Migrants and their Families (FILEF) in Sydney. Its members were spied upon by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), ostracised by a large part of the Italian migrant community and its media, embarrassingly acknowledged by Italian diplomatic and consular representatives, fearful of losing their jobs because of their political beliefs, demonised by the Australian Establishment as the Trojan Horse of Italian communism, even when FILEF’s members claimed to have a “human face”.
After forty years of militancy, time has come to record FILEF’s journey through Australian and migrant politics, welfare, arts, education and union activities.
Gianfranco Cresciani was born in Trieste, Italy and emigrated to Australia in 1962. He worked for Electric Power Transmission Pty Ltd, the Ethnic Affairs Commission and the Ministry for the Arts of the NSW Government. In 1989 and 1994 he was a member of the Australian Delegation re-negotiating with the Italian Government the Italo-Australian Cultural Agreement. Master of Arts, First Class Honours, from the University of Sydney in 1978. Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from the University of New South Wales in 2005.