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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 January 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 JANUARY 2015 27 OPINION LETTERS Astor cinema I represent the owner of the building which includes the Astor cinema. I have just been speaking to the original Greek owners about your article and need to put the facts straight. This Greek family owned the cinema from 1966 until 2007! Firstly, all the acts that you mentioned were not brought out by the Raftopoulos partnership, they were brought out by various independent promoters who rented the theatre for this purpose. The Raftopoulos partnership (not ‘family’) did eventually rent this theatre for a short period, but never owned it. The current owner, Ralph Taranto, has no intention of bulldozing the site for apartments. He has spent a vast sum of money on its restoration and intends to keep it as a cinema, which Palace Cinemas are intending on taking over the lease of. This is heritage listed and cannot be developed. The only survivor of the partnership is Peter Yiannoudes, who I am sure is known to you, so you can check this detail if necessary. Dale Smith Victoria Exercise and diet As a weightlifting coach and ref I offer the following advice - exercise and diet together will help but do not be upset if your overall weight stays the same if it means more muscle and a far better Body Mass Index. Hard exercise such as good walks, running, cycling or swimming are awesome. But try to vary all of these as your body does 'learn' and the results slow down. Thus when I walk or cycle (I am not a runner myself), I take different routes every day with different hills to keep my body ‘guessing’. However, swimming is the best. And as for food, try to eat a traditional Hellenic diet with lots of fruit and veg and live well. Ange Kenos Victoria Enshrine multiculturalism in the constitution At the recent reconciliation dinner in Sydney, both Prime Minister Abbott and leader of the Opposition Shorten were united in their determination to rally community support for Constitutional reform to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as Australia's first citizens and to delete racist provisions. Although decades overdue this is to be applauded and the sooner the date for the referendum is announced to effect these changes the better to correct a historical denial and injustice. The prime minister at that dinner referred to the three stages of Australia's demographic development, starting with the indigenous people some 40,000 years ago, followed by the English invaders/settlers in the 1700s and more recently, several million people from many parts of the world. He acknowledged the very obvious fact for decades that Australia is multicultural, but he left it at that. The multi-ethnic, multicultural character of Australia is and will continue to be an integral part of nation building in all spheres of human endeavour, population growth, socio-political, cultural, economic and environmental activity. Immigration, now increasingly from our closest geographic neighbours, and not only economic and political but also ecological, will continue to be a major part of Australia's development. Multiculturalism and reconciliation therefore are for the whole nation not just the ‘ethnics’ and the ‘blacks’, and must be enshrined in the laws of the land and the nation's constitution to recognise, protect and promote the rights and aspirations to culture, language and ethnic identity of all the peoples of Australia's one nation. Now that at last one wrong is about to be righted in the proposed referendum, it is imperative that at least we start a national conversation for the need - and how best - to legally and constitutionally recognise multiculturalism and not to be told to be contented with mainly ad hoc, ephemeral arrangements. Whatever legislation is now in place in some states, it is inadequate and wanting in the absence of federal legislation and certainly from the country's constitution. As in the case of the indigenous people, the issue for constitutional recognition of multiculturalism has to be made and fought for in the first place and with vigour and determination by the millions of ‘ethnic’ Australians, their community organisations and all those democrats in the wider community who share this democratic objective. One thing is clear - Australia cannot afford to deny, delay or belittle the need to correct another demographic injustice. Of course, problems of in- equality and discrimination will not disappear even with the best legislation in the world unless people are vigilant, but progressive democratic laws do help a lot. George Zangalis Victoria A funny thing happened on the way to austerity Spare a thought this time of year for the 11 million Greeks being frogmarched towards austerity. But if you think this an intro to a lament, or a modern Greek tragedy, you are wrong. See, a funny thing happened on the way to austerity - the left went mainstream. Whilst the emergence of the farright has drawn the headlines, it is the radical left parties across Europe that are experiencing their own resurgence. Front (and well left of centre) is the Greek party SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left). Barely able to pull 4 per cent in elections prior to 2012, the party scored a historic victory by attracting more votes than any other Greek party in the 2014 Euro-elections. The national elections in Greece, now scheduled for January 25th, may deliver a left government for the first time in Greek history. If you are wondering where that came from, consider some of the fine print in the austerity tour that the policy makers of Europe and Greece arranged for the Greek people. Billed as the way out of a crisis, the austerity tour has decimated a country already in some strife of its own. More than one in four people are now unemployed, while three out of five young people are locked out of a job. Hard going indeed when you consider that unemployment has grown to more than 1.3 million, with only 10 per cent of these receiving unemployment benefits. Email your letter to: email@example.com According to UNICEF, austerity has delivered 35 per cent of all children into a state of real or near poverty. The minimum wage has shrunk by 40 per cent, while pensions have been slashed with further cuts on the way. Not surprising then that of the 2.8 million households in Greece, more than 1 million cannot pay their electricity bill in full. This humanitarian disaster has come courtesy of the downloaded program of austerity designed by a troika of officials from the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Implementation has been delivered by the two parties of the political establishment who have been plagued by a level of corruption that would make ICAC blush. The conservatives (New Democracy) and the self defined social democrats (PASOK) have delivered whatever the troika dictate. It is a truly simple formula - enforce cuts in public programs and public spending on the road to further cuts, and then privatisation of public assets. The final twist of the knife is to return the labour market to the laws of the jungle by slashing the minimum wage and effectively legislating out of existence the ability to collectively bargain for wages. These establishment parties are linked by a web of economic and political interests to the economic centre of Europe that is led by Germany. Ultimately, this prevents them from defying the dictates of the northern European leaders. In just this way, the Greek people have become road kill on the way to austerity. The public release in September 2014 of a fully costed program for government by SYRIZA was a transition point in the historic shift to the left. In announcing the National Recovery Plan that his party would pursue, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Have Your Say LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: Do you think Australia will win the Asian Cup? 64 % YES 36 % NO THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Will SYRIZA emerge as the winning party of January 25 elections in Greece? Vote online now. Go to neoskosmos.com Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by Rural Press Printing, Ballarat. 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Editor-in-Chief: Sotiris Hatzimanolis Graphic Design: Peter Kelidis Fotis Petsinis Contributors: Dora Kitinas-Gogos Christopher Gogos Journalists: Proof Reader: Angela Costanzo Maja Jovic, Helen Velissaris, Michael Sweet, John Pyrros, Nelly Skoufatoglou, Anastasia Tsirtsakis SYRIZA, said it would demand a haircut for the majority of Greek debt so that it is rendered sustainable. In a novel approach, he even demanded the payment of the remainder be indexed to the country's growth rates. He also called for an international debt conference like the one held in 1953 to deal with Germany's debt. These demands are striking because they do not align with the relentless infantalisation of the Greek people that is the staple of western media opinion and commentary. Portrayed as bone lazy (never mind the Eurostats that show the average Greek worker spends more hours at work than the average German) and incompetent (despite the inconvenient fact that they are leaving Greece in their thousands and being snapped up by employers across Europe and beyond) they are expected to swallow the bitter medicine and be grateful. But if Greece really is to be viewed as a sick patient, then the doctors of austerity economics have a problem. The patient is refusing the prescribed medicine and is actively seeking a second opinion. SYRIZA is now preparing a program for government that puts the needs of the Greek people first in determining its economic priorities. "We are asking for a strong mandate to form a government," Tsipras said, "and an even stronger mandate from society to challenge for the best possible outcomes for our people in Europe." Tsipras has made it clear that the program does not represent SYRIZA's preferred position, but that which it can implement under the circumstances. Two years earlier, the situation would have allowed for easier and better measures. Alternatively, two years down the track, if the current coalition government remains in power, the range of effective economic measures that could be affordably introduced will be reduced even further. If the Greek people choose the SYRIZA program, the road away from the current vicious economics of isolation, deprivation and punishment will not be easy. The narrative and economic orthodoxy formally justifying the politics of austerity has long lost even a veneer of credibility. Many conservative economists as well as Keynesians and others have called out the troika for persisting with a myth that the current debt can be repaid whilst pursuing contractionary policies that have killed off the economy. On another level, an electoral victory by SYRIZA may be viewed as the beginning of a hard fight to win back dignity. This means the restoration of the democratic right of a people to adopt laws and policies to meet their own needs and aspirations. They will need allies in Europe and beyond. Some of those allies will be other governments, including perhaps some that are part of the G20. But history has also shown solidarity movements made up of ordinary people can grow quickly and be effective in supporting a people that dare to fight for their future. A funny thing is happening on the way to austerity, although the punch line may yet be delivered by the Greek people. Adam Rorris National Convenor, Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign http://australiagreecesolidarity.wordpress.com/ Please note that the submission of a letter does not guarantee that it will be published. We reserve the right to edit your letter for clarity, grammar, spelling and style. Letters that use inappropriate language will not be published. All letters published will include the author’s name and location. Comments posted on Neos Kosmos’website, facebook and twitter pages can also be included for submission at the editors’ discretion and will be edited accordingly.
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