The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) yesterday hosted the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Scott Morrison at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture on his first visit.
The Prime Minister was joined by the Hon David Coleman, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in the Morrison Government and Gladys Liu, Liberal candidate for Chisholm who were met by the GCM President Bill Papastergiadis, many of his fellow Board Members and the Greek Centre staff led by Jorge Menidis.
The GCM President explained how the Greek Centre operated detailing the volume of activity that now comes through the Centre resulting in 1400+ weekly visitors. He also spoke about the broad cultural and educational program noting the language campuses, adult classes, advanced Greek and Ancient Greek courses that the GCM ran at the Centre. He once again thanked the Government for the seed funding it had provided for the Centre ($2million) at the time of the construction of the building.
Mr Papastergiaidis also referred to important issues that affected the whole of the general Greek Community including the matters of pensions and transportability, program for newly arriving Greeks, additional funding for Greek education programs and other matters affecting the broader Greek community in Australia.
During the conversation, the Prime Minister shared a personal insight about tennis star Tsitsipas and his recent on-court heroics at the Australian Open- saying “I hear Tsitsipas is a great friend of yours. How do we make him an Australian citizen because I love the way he carries himself on the court and off the court.”
The Prime Minister then spoke of the significant contribution that migrants have contributed to Australia citing studies that have shown that first and second generation migrants consistently do well in any metric that considers the population as a whole.
The Prime Minister said that it was a great development and was impressed by the volume of education programs and cultural activity.
The Prime Minister also spoke about growing up amongst Greeks with whom he was always made to feel welcome in their homes.
In particular, the Prime Minister was emphatic about the significant input that Greeks have had in Australia and in particular the Melbourne Greek Community as the preeminent Greek organisation in the great Greek diaspora.
The party also proceeded to Melina on the Rooftop on Level 13 where they were treated to traditional Greek Dancing by Greek Community of Melbourne dance group. Enthused by the performance, The Prime Minister was encouraged onto the dance floor by Mr. Papastergiadis for an impromptu performance much to the delight of the guests and media.
“It’s the ongoing contribution and support from the Greek community itself, those that have done incredibly well here and understand that that comes with a responsibility of investingback in the community, that’s the nature of the culture,” said the PM.