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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 May 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 MAY 2018 21 COMMUNITY Ms Narayanasamy is adamant about this. "It is not only the English test; there are other elements to the bill which are also concerning," she says, referring to the vaguely described "integration" requirements. "The specific requirements can be set up by regulations, so that they can be decided by the department," she says and points to several ministerial statements about factors such as where children go to school or the level of interaction of people with the Australian community. "Our view of the citizenship changes that were proposed by Pauline Hanson and by the government is that they will have a significantly detrimental effect on Australian migrants and Australia's multicultural society," she warns. "It will create a secondclass society, with people who have been living and working here but are prevented from accessing citizenship because they do not meet either English or integration requirements or they are trying to be part of their communities or express their religion or culture. This is a huge step away from Australia's multiculturalism, which saw it as important that people be allowed and supported to express their own culture as well as be a part of the Australian society." For her, this is an issue that should concern anyone involved in multicultural communities. "We need to go out and de- fend multiculturalism and explain why it's important," she says. "We're bringing along a number of experts so people can ask questions because it's kind of complicated legislation and people who are busy with their lives can't read through so much legislation and work it out. “Many think that these changes have already passed, so we need to explain that they don't have to meet these requirements yet. We're also going to talk about the history of migration in Australia and Australian multiculturalism, what it relies on and why it needs to be defended; and we will discuss what we can do as people of this community to try and defend Australian multiculturalism, because it's clearly under attack." "Because if we don't, we are really at risk of seeing it go. In terms of citizenship, obviously these changes will impact new migrants, but it is impacting our society in general; it really undermines the basis on which many of us happily live here; which is not feeling any conflict or tension about expressing our language and our identity and our religion while at the same time being legally and ethically equal to other Australians from an AngloCeltic heritage. “Today, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, non-European communities make up 24 per cent of Australia's population. Including European, non-English-speaking communities, such as the Greek and Italian, we are approaching 40 per cent of the community." If her description sounds like a call to action, it is because this is exactly what it is. "What it will take is a really sustained campaign by people who have been here for a very long time alongside new migrants, working together as a community to talk about the benefits of multiculturalism and the problems with trying to unwind it even without explicitly doing so. It's important for communities who have been here for a long time to defend what we built," she says and points to the risks entailed in the integration requirement. "The kind of multiculturalism that the Greek community was instrumental in building allowed for language, religion and culture diversity and holding on to those traditions at the same time as being legally equal in Australia. I don't think that Greek people fought for multiculturalism only for their own sake. It was a movement by a lot of people who said that we should be free to practice our religion, our language. “The multiculturalism that our parents and grandparents built and defended in this country, was really hard won. To think that we should stand by and let that happen is to betray that legacy. Even if you're second or third generation, it's important to keep the tradition and have that freedom to not just assimilate to this culture, if you don't want to. “I know a lot of thirdgeneration people who are teaching their children languages and go to their home country and do festivals. Yes, you don't have to sit in a language test, but it doesn't matter. This unwinds everything. If we start undermining it, who knows how it will stop?" NATIONAL INFORMATION ROADSHOW CITIZENSHIP AND FAMILY REUNION INFORMATION SESSIONS All sessions are free, and you will need to register your interest in attending. Go to https://colourcode.org. au/roadshow/ VIC Monday 28 May, 6.00 – 8.00 pm, Upton Room, Box Hill RSL, 26-28 Nelson Rd, Box Hill. NSW Wednesday 30 May, 6.00 – 8.00 pm, Biddegal Function Room, Club Central, 2 Crofts Avenue, Hurstville. SA Tuesday 5 June, 6.00 – 8.00 pm, The Welcome Centre, 100 Drayton St, Bowden. Architect Angelo Candalepas. PHOTO: YOUTUBE Greek Australian architect behind Sydney’s Punchbowl mosque Angelo Candalepas said it was a Greek Orthodox priest that guided him to embrace the project A new contemporary mosque, 23 years in the making, is not far away from opening its doors, and the unique design is the work of Greek Australian Angelo Candalepas. The award-winning architect behind Candalepas Associates is no stranger to religious projects, having worked alongside Belmore's All Saints Orthodox Church on designing All Saints Grammar Primary School. But he admits when he was approached by the Australian Islamic Mission (AIM), he was initially surprised and unsure about taking the project on. "I didn't know what to say. What do you say when someone asks you to do what could be one of the most important buildings [to their community], particularly when their aspirations are so lofty?" Mr Candalepas told the ABC. The architect revealed that praying to God, and seeking the spiritual guidance of a Greek Orthodox priest was what helped him in coming to an affirmative final decision. "He said 'We are all the children of God, and you must do every single one of these projects and they must be the most important projects of your life'," he recalled. Known as the Punchbowl mosque, the project has been championed by nonprofit organisation AIM since the mid-1990s and is being made possible with funding from the community through grants, donations and non-interest-bearing loans. The impressive place of worship, which puts a contemporary spin on what is a space where religious traditions are observed, is expected to open its doors ahead of the end of Ramadan, Muslim holy month, which falls on 14 June. Nominate your diversity heroes for Victoria’s 2018 Multicultural Awards for Excellence Nominations for Victoria's 2018 Multicultural Awards for Excellence are now open to find the state's next diversity heroes. Now in their 17th year, the awards are coordinated by the Victorian Multicultural Commission on behalf of the Victorian Government. The awards honour outstanding individuals and organisations that foster cross-cultural understanding, support migrants and refugees, and celebrate and preserve the diversity of cultures in Victoria. Recipients will be honoured at a ceremony at Government House attended by high-profile dignitaries in September. Nominations are invited across 10 categories to Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Helen Kapalos (front left) with last year’s VMA for Excellence winners. recognise the many ways that Victorians strengthen multiculturalism and close on Monday 25 June. Online submissions are encouraged and preferred. To find out more, and to submit a nomination, go to multicultural.vic.gov.au To request a PDF or hardcopy nomination form, please email info@vmc. vic.gov.au or call (03) 7017 8190. Giannis Vouros’ play Elladografia cancelled Acclaimed Greek actor Giannis Vouros was scheduled to bring his successful theatrical production Elladografia to Australia in June as part of the Greek Festival of Sydney. Unfortunately, due to un- foreseen circumstances, this performance has had to be cancelled but hopefully the Greek community will be able to see Mr Vouros' monologue performed in Sydney at a later date, most likely as part of the 2019 program of events. All ticketholders will be refunded for their purchase.
19 May 2018
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