Elected Council Member for Australia for the term 2017-2021:
ROLAND ISLER VIC
I am a graphic designer and manage the print & design department at Caulfield Grammar School, one of the largest private schools in Australia. Since arriving in Melbourne in 1982, I have been involved in the Swiss Community in many different ways, including:
I am passionate about Switzerland, its culture and its people, wherever they live. My own experience as an expatriate for over three decades and my active engagement in the Swiss Community make me familiar with and sensitive to the needs of Swiss Abroad. I fulfil the duties as a CSA with passion and conviction and strive to be an effective representative and champion for Swiss people in Australia.
I enjoy getting immersed in history, especially the one of the Swiss in Australia. I published the book ‘To Australia! Letters of an Emigrant by J. J. Locher from Speicher’. The book is an annotated German transcript and English translation of a letter written in 1855 by a Swiss digger on the Victorian goldfields. The letter was originally published under its German title in St Gallen, Switzerland in 1857. The book is dedicated to the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad on the centenary of its foundation and was launched at the Congress of the Swiss Abroad in Bern in 2016. See publication.
I attended the CSA meeting in Brunnen in 2011 and the Congress of the Swiss Abroad in Davos in 2013 and in Bern in 2016.
Job: Head of Print Services, Caulfield Grammar School
T: +61 4 1293 5565 / Email
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 3 November 2017 – The federal referendum ‘Yes to the abolition of radio and television fees (abolition of Billag fees)’ intents to abolish the reception fees for licensed radio and television broadcasters with a public service obligation. The Federal Council is of the opinion that Switzerland needs a comprehensive public service in the media sector and that it cannot be financed exclusively on a commercial basis. It therefore rejects the initiative.
The Executive Board of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), like Parliament and the Federal Council, opposes the initiative, which will be voted on 4 March 2018. Public services in the information sector are of the utmost importance for Swiss Abroad.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 25 October 2017 – On Tuesday, 24 October, the governors and state secretaries of the Swiss cantons have received a letter signed by ten federal parliamentarians from the most important political parties, demanding that all Swiss Abroad be able to choose their National Councillors in the 2019 Swiss Federal Elections. The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), which has been working for years to ensure that the Swiss Abroad are able to use this voting channel, is delighted about this initiative and fully supports it.
On 27 September, the National Council (Nationalrat) followed the recommendation from the Economic Commission of the Lower House and rejected implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with New Zealand. The majority of the members are of the opinion that the Swiss in New Zealand are disadvantaged over other Swiss living abroad, because of the Swiss pension (AHV) being confiscated by the New Zealand Government.
On 19 September, 2017, National Councillor and Swiss Abroad, Tim Guldimann (SP/ZH), together with 70 co-signatories, submitted a motion obliging the Federal Council to inform in the event that a draft law or a proposed amendment affects Swiss citizens abroad. This would allow deliberating such effects at an early stage in parliament.
The Swiss Council of States yesterday adopted a motion which requires all Swiss banks that are “too big to fail” to accept Swiss citizens living outside of Switzerland. The motion was submitted by Filippo Lombardi (CVP/Ticino) and adopted with 23 votes to 14 and 6 abstentions. The banks in question are UBS, Credit Suisse, Zuercher Kantonalbank, Raiffeisen and Postfinance.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 11 September 2017 – the National Council (NC) today adopted, by 178 votes to 4 with 7 abstentions, a motion tabled by the Foreign Affairs Commission of the NC on 4 July 2017. This motion requires that PostFinance revises its universal financial services to extend them to Swiss Abroad in order to enable them to fulfill their financial obligations. PostFinance, the main shareholder of which is state-owned Swiss Post, has a special responsibility towards Swiss citizens.
In the lead-up to the Congress of the Swiss Abroad held in Basel, 116 delegates from all over the world assembled in the historic town hall on Friday 18 August for the constituent meeting of the new Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) for the term 2017-2021.
The Swiss expatriates are turning up the heat on Swiss institutions to grant discrimination-free access to financial services. The issue has plagued the community for nearly a decade.
Adrian Plitzco from SBS Radio interviews Katja Wallimann Gates who has been elected as a member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad. She explains what the organisation stands for and how she herself wants to contribute (Swiss-German). Echo Helvetia
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 4 July 2017 – The Foreign Policy Commission of the National Council has lodged a motion (19 to 0 votes with 1 abstention), calling on PostFinance to investigate the extension of basic financial services for Swiss Abroad. Since 2008 Swiss Abroad find it increasingly difficult to maintain a banking relationship in Switzerland. Our countrymen abroad need a bank account to maintain health insurance, facilitate social security contributions or to conduct financial transactions related to real estate ownership.
Swiss citizens residing in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue and American Samoa will have the opportunity to apply for a new Swiss passport and/or ID card in Kaponga or in Timaru instead of flying to Wellington for this purpose. This service will be available from 2 to 6 October 2017.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 28 June 2017 – GENEVA: Yesterday, in the presence of the directors of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), representatives of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the canton of Geneva, as well as National Councillor (SP/GE) and member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), Carlo Sommaruga, the electronic urn containing 1,378 ballots from Swiss citizens living in Mexico and Australia was opened. 7.43% of the eligible voters in Australia and 6.96% of those in Mexico participated in this premiere. For the first time, they were able to elect their delegates to the CSA online, using the CHVote electronic voting system made available by the canton of Geneva.
Through an interpellation*, National Councillor, Roland Rino Büchel (SVP/SG), has asked the Federal Council when it intends to conclude a social security insurance agreement with New Zealand.