Tonio Borg writes:

The demise of Victor Borg, former Maltese Consul in the state of Victoria, Australia, came as a shock to all those who knew him or had the pleasure of making his acquaintance.

He hailed from Gżira but at a young age his parents emigrated to Australia in the 1950s. I remember him telling me of the depressed economical state of the Australian continent when he arrived; but as Australia prospered, thanks to the hard work of thousands of migrants, Victor’s fortunes soared as well. With strict maternal insistence he pursued his legal studies in Melbourne and London  and set up his own legal firm which helped members of the Maltese community in their legal problems or travails.

He realised that the legal system was prejudiced against migrants and sought to change it; he defended the weak before the strong and helped many Maltese Australians who, without his assistance and judgement, would have fared badly before the courts of law.

However, it was Victor’s enthusiasm and work for the welfare of the Maltese community in Victoria, and his leadership of the Maltese Community Council of Victoria, encompassing more than 40 Maltese associations of every type and nature which endeared him to the Maltese community. He was instrumental in promoting the Maltese language in Australia among the Maltese community lest it faded away and supported the broadcasting in Maltese on Ethnic radio 3ZZ, and strived with success to have the Maltese language taught at primary and secondary schools.

I remember him lobbying first in 1989 for dual citizenship for Maltese Australians who had lost their Maltese nationality and, more recently, for the extension of such benefit to Maltese of the second generation. He was successful in his endeavours and greeted me warmly when during my visit to Victoria in 2001, I announced the government’s intention to extend dual nationality, presenting him with the draft law which had just been published.

As harbinger of good news, he greeted me with his typical grin and warm hospitality. The last time I saw him was when as European Commissioner I visited Australia for official talks. He and his gracious wife Terry hosted me for dinner. He still loved Malta but, as so many migrants, felt bound by family ties to his new home.

The most sincere condolences to his wife Terry and his children. They should be proud of Victor’s achievements. A true Maltese ambassador, a gentleman who loved everything Maltese.

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