A welcome sitting was held at the County Court of Victoria yesterday to officially mark the appointment of Her Honour Judge Nola Karapanagiotidis as a judge of the County Court of Victoria and the first Greek Australian woman to be appointed.
Nola Karapanagiotidis has served as a Barrister for almost twenty years, practicing across the Magistrates’, County and Supreme Courts and appearing in the Federal and High Courts and coronial inquests before being appointed as judge last year at the youthful age of 46.
She previously worked at Victoria Legal Aid and as a solicitor advocate and has held a range of community-based and volunteer legal positions.
Self proclaimed “proudest brother in the world” Kon Karapanagiotidis, took to Twitter, elated about his sister’s achievements.
"Everything can change in a generation. Today my sister Nola officially welcomed as a Country Court Judge. 1st Greek Australian woman to be appointed. My mum Sia never went to high school. Her sacrifices and those of my late dad Leo made it possible. I'm proudest brother in the world."
I don’t think I’ve ever had a prouder day. My sister Nola Karapanagiotidis has just been appointed a County Court judge!! The 2nd in my family to even go to High School, 28 yrs of volunteering for community legal centres & one of the first Greek Australian women to be appointed❤️ pic.twitter.com/J6hYbedl1i
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) August 10, 2021
Mr Karapanagiotidis went on to share some of Her Honour Judge Nola Karapanagiotidis’ further notable achievements, mentioning some of the incredible contributions that she has made to society, saying; “My sister Nola did 28 years of pro Bono legal work before being appointed a Judge. From Aboriginal deaths in custody, to defending political activists, 15 years of acting for refugees and donating all $300,000+ of her wins back to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, mentor to women, volunteer for LGBTIQA rights.”
Kon Karapanagiotidis, himself, is no ‘slouch’ to say the very least. He has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal of the Order (OAM) - the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service to Australian society. He is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and a fierce advocate for the rights of people seeking asylum, refugees, and Indigenous Australians. Kon is also a human rights lawyer, social worker and board member for Children’s Ground.
Congratulations, Her Honour Judge Nola Karapanagiotidis 🎉 An amazing advocate for access to justice and an inspiration to first gen Australian women like me! Migrant grandparents/parents sacrifice so much for their children and Australia is a much much richer country for it. https://t.co/9VODli40bY
— Monique Failla (@MoniqueFailla) July 29, 2022
“Migrants come to [Australia] to give kids a better life. They dug ditches, sewed, clean houses etc. We, their children owe them so much. We as citizens, owe it to new migrants who come for same reason, support [and] give chances to add Nola’s [and] Kon’s to the nation’s wealth of talent,” tweeted one user, echoing the sentiments of many.
Kon Karapanagiotidis explains that his father, who was forced to leave school at the age of 9, had dreamed of being a lawyer, whilst his mother, Sia, who had to leave school at the age of 12, wanted to be a maths teacher.
“They came as migrants, no English, worked on farms and in factories until their bodies could take no more,” said Mr. Karapanagiotidis, in a touching tribute to his parents.
“Somehow you found within you the strength to raise Nola and I so that we could dream that we could touch the sky and be anything.”