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AHC discusses Greek issues in Canberra

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A delegation of the Australian Hellenic Council (AHC) met in Canberra with representatives of the federal government and coalition parties, for the purpose of seeking their assurances on issues pertaining to the wider Australian Greek community. The AHC delegation included Evan Kakulas (National President and WA State Co-ordinator), John Petropoulos (NSW State Co-ordinator) and Chris Bekiaris (from the AHC NSW) and they met with the Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Brendan O’ Connor, the Leader of the federal opposition, the Hon. Tony Abbott and the Deputy Leader of the federal opposition (and opposition Foreign Affairs Spokesperson) the Hon. Julie Bishop. The issues that were discussed included: FYROM, Cyprus: Both political sides expressed their commitment to maintaining bipartisan support of these issues as in the past. The AHC expressed their concerns of the spasmodic utterances from various MP’s contrary to these policies; Gallipoli Centenary and Lemnos: The AHC proposed that given the magnitude of the involvement of the island of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign, and generally as a strategic Allied partner in WW1, the Aegean island should be included in the Centenary commemorations; Greece: The AHC noted that there has not been any high ranking Australian delegation visiting Greece in 5 years. It was agreed that a new impetus is necessary in this direction, with an emphasis of increased economic co-operation and collaboration; Migration: The AHC called for the cap of 500 in the Working Holiday Visa and the 457 Visa to be increased significantly, given the number of quality professionals wanting to come to Australia. Support was expressed for both these two areas; Greek language: The importance of the federal government’s support in terms of resources, personnel and funding of Greek language as part of the National Curriculum was emphasised, as it believes only through such support it could be viable and sustainable; and Aged Care: The significance of specialised (ethno-specific) care, in view of the fact that the Australian Greek community’s ageing population is increasing considerably was also tabled. “I believe the meetings went extremely well as all were very receptive to our theses”, Evan Kakulas, National President of the AHC said. “I should point out that Tony Abbott in particular had a thorough understanding of all our issues and in fact requested that we maintain regular contact and dialogue directly with him, as he valued the Australian-Greek community’s contribution to Australian society,” Mr Kakulas concluded.last_img read more

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