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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 04 May 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019 23 OPINION If I were Prime Minister... In the lead-up to the elections, we asked members of the Greek Australian community what they would do if they became the next Australian Prime Minister. BO SVORONOS Dr Bo Svoronos is known for his work as senior creative producer for the Footscray Community Arts Centre, but he is also currently establishing 3kps, a creative industry operation focused on producing, consulting, engagement and mentoring. His specialties, include festival and events consultation/management, research and development, live event services, tour management, select catering operations, arts management, creative collaborations and cultural entrepreneurship. Dr Christos Fifis is an academic and author. An active member of the Greek Australian community, his latest history book is titled ‘The First Greek Community of Australia, a history of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria 18972018.’ Born in Koskina, Agrinion, Dr Fifis migrated to Australia in 1965. He has published poetry in Greece and Australia and has taught Greek Studies at RMIT, Victoria College and La Trobe University for 30 years. His research work includes the collection, editing and publishing of the poems of the late poet Nikos Ninolakis, in 1986. What would you do on your first day on the job? CHRISTOS FIFIS The PM takes care to appoint good ministers (men and women) suitable to carry out their important tasks; organises meetings with the budget committee and other ministerial NIKI SPEROU Adelaide artist Niki Sperou investigates the nexus between art, science and culture and the role of this connection in the shaping of human identity. Influenced by her cultural background, she creates works that allude to her heritage. Since 2006, she has been the Artist in Residence at the Department of Medical Biotechnology, Flinders University. Exhibiting regularly since 2001 her work has included a solo exhibition for the AusBiotech 2003 Convention and a short video shown at Heath Bunting’s DIY DNA DAY in London (2004). As part of the 2004 Art of the Biotech Era project produced by the Experimental Art Foundation she participated in workshops by internationally renowned biotech artists Oron Catts and Eduardo Kac. In her text “Verisimilitude: Biotechnology and ancient Greek narrative for the Art in the Biotech Era” Sperou explores themes which link her interest in contemporary technological innovations, the body and her own cultural background. What would you do on your first day on the job? Take the day off and go motorbike riding. What are the issues you feel need to be addressed? Water and climate change, affordable housing and home ownership, migration and refugees, bridging the divides between excessive wealth and poverty, Gender Parity, Indigenous self-determination, addressing regional and rural Australia’s issues, and a big lack of charisma. committees to assess the state of the economy and the impact of announced measures to be implemented. Time needs to be spent in making announcements, giving interviews and explaining the road map of the tasks ahead, the reasons for them and the expected outcomes. I would propose legislation to ban political donations over $10,000. All donations over $1,000 have to be declared. What are the issues you feel need to be addressed? Measures for bridging the economic inequality which is also associated with the high cost of living. These will include a progressive increase up to 5 per cent of wages, salaries and pensions under $80,000 and the imposition of a 10 per cent increase of taxation to incomes after the sum of $150,000. Finding and closing tax loopholes. What would you do on the first day on the job? In response to this question I need to support things said by others before me. The government needs to employ more excellent women, indigenous Australians and representatives from migrant communities. Australia is a multicultural country in which over fifty per cent of the population are women and yet they are underrepresented in government. These groups need good role models in important positions, and their alternative voices need to be heard. Too many people feel unheard, disgruntled and unrepresented. What are some of the issues you feel need to be addressed? Due to the temporal nature of government I believe there are too many short-term solutions for long term problems. Capitalist society relies on increasing consumption to remain active, however in the long term this is unsustainable. I think we need to consider new models. Support for creative and scientific thinkers is imperative What are some of the urgent issues for the Greek Australian community? Aged care and growing elderly with dignity and support. What is your campaign wish list? Free health and education, correctly questioned Republic Referendum, legislation of the creative Industries as a primary industry, increased local Government investment and resourcing, strengthening Australia’s regional position within the Asia-Pacific (with an emphasis on increasing Reforming the health system to enable better services and avoiding wastage. Reforming the Education system to better serve the students and research tasks. Taking drastic measures to reduce emissions, to improve conditions of climate change and securing a more healthy environment. Encouraging a power renewal industry with products manufactured in Australia. Taking measures to promote a multicultural, cooperative and informed society. Enabling the teaching of English and community languages to all interested. Make multicultural and multilingual radio and television programs available to society. What are some of the urgent issues for the Greek Australian community? The teaching and learning of the Greek language. to solve problems. However, these people are often exhausted and distracted by the need to find continued funding for their work. Another important issue is to find novel avenues to fund important initiatives. When I hear various election promises I wonder, where are they going to get the money for that? Private industry is run by people who are passionate about solving problems. I think we need to seek private support rather than expecting the government to fund everything. It is without question we need a fairer tax system. What are some of the urgent issues for the Greek community? The economic crisis in Europe has hurt the reputation of Greeks internationally. Greek migrants have been hardworking, clever and successful citizens, valuing education above all in order to give their children opportunities for the future. There is a challenge for the Greek community to remain culturally and politically relevant. This is evident in Oceanic nations support and development), ratification of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage charter for the safeguarding and redress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture, ban on all privately operated prisons and a complete overhaul by all State governments of their justice and corrections measures towards a contemporary system of rehabilitation, and basically creating Australia to be a leading 21st Century nation that’s dealt with the open wounds of its past bounding bravely into an unknown. There is a need of bringing together the most influencial GreekAustralian organisations. Securing a harmonic cooperation with key organisations including the Community, Pronoia, Frontida and the Church – bringing people together, solving differences. Addressing social problems, problems of old age and pensioners. There is a need of consultation – Developing forums discussing problems, ideas, cultural activities, educating members of the community. Creating a large Greek Centre with meeting rooms and athletic facilities, offering opportunities for the participation of youth groups, women, professionals and aged people. What is your campaign wish list? Creating opportunities for consultation and discussion and involving the people in the preparation for the agenda. the decline of interest and struggle for funding opportunities for Greek programs in universities and elsewhere. Within the international psyche, Greek identity equates to Greek classicism which is now increasingly considered global heritage. Further, Greek migrants made an admirable effort to assimilate into Australian culture. This has had good and bad implications. Indeed, know your language and eat your food, but know that identity goes beyond this. The challenge is not only to retain but develop culture whilst avoiding stereotypes. The challenge is to understand what it means to be Greek today. What is your campaign wish list? High quality education; creative thinking for the future is imperative. Creating platforms for alternative voices. Support for truly independent journalism…Perhaps that’s an oxymoron. Supporting creative industry via science and the arts. Support for health initiatives. HAVE YOUR SAY! What would you do as Prime Minister? Share your views on the key issues of the 18 May election campaign by answering the above four questions and sending your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org All views should be accompanied by an email address and telephone number.
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