Greek Community of Melbourne welcomes Greece's Deputy Interior Minister, Theodoros Livanios

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The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), along with the Greek Consulate of Melbourne, welcomed Greece's Deputy Interior Minister, Theodoros Livanios, at the Greek Centre where they discussed matters affecting the diaspora and the postal vote.

GCM President Bill Papastergiadis OAM welcomed the Minister at the Library, along with Vice President Dr. Jim Bossinakis, the Board of Directors, and GCM members Dr. Nick Dallas, Dr. Spyridoula Demetriou, Helene Hiotis, and Leonidas Vlahakis and  Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Mrs Sally Capp AO.

In his opening speech, Bill Papastergiadis stated, “It is our pleasure to host a historical event for the GCM and the Greek diaspora globally regarding the important step by the Greek Government to bestow the postal vote to its citizens globally. Allowing citizens to vote is a critical part of any democracy. We need to embrace this step but at the same time it needs to be acknowledged that a deeper connection and conversation is required between Greece and the diaspora. Hopefully, the engagement through this open meeting today helps to facilitate the ongoing conversation that is needed. The diaspora is multi-faceted and constantly changing. The Greek Government needs to acknowledge this so that its programs and actions reflect this global changing environment”.

Lord Mayor Sally Cap AO thanked Bill for his warm welcome and emphasized the importance of the Minister's presence for the Greek Community. “Melbourne is the third biggest Greek city community in the world, and we're very proud of that. 44% of Greek Australians choose to live in Melbourne. I reflect as well on the 36th Antipodes Festival recently, with over 100,000 people in the streets celebrating culture, history, contribution, and also reminding us of the leadership that our Greek community plays in shaping our future here in this city. We hope that you enjoy the unique elements of Melbourne. Thank you for honouring us with your presence”.

Mr. Livanios emphasized the pivotal role of the Greek diaspora and their significant contribution to strengthening the bonds between Greece and Australia. He expressed a strong desire for the diaspora's active participation in shaping the future of Greece, stating, "We value your opinion, your vote, and your choice to be part of Greece's future. Greece stands beside you, and we are committed to bridging the gap with the diaspora."

Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of the diaspora's voice, stating, "We want you to have a strong presence and influence in the decisions that shape our nation. Your Greek community is resilient and influential, and we want you to play a part in crucial decision-making processes." He also mentioned efforts to simplify the voting process for diaspora members in upcoming elections, reflecting responsiveness to the community's needs and desires for easier participation in democratic processes.

During the session, Greece's alternate Minister explained in detail the postal voting procedure, providing a step-by-step explanation to ensure clarity, and understanding among diaspora members. He also addressed questions and feedback from the audience, emphasizing that their concerns and suggestions would be taken into consideration, further demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and responsiveness to the diaspora's needs and preferences."

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