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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 April 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 APRIL 2017 21 NEWS Playhouse Theatre (in the area now known as Southbank) moved on, the owner employed my father to manage the candy bar. Impressed with my father's ability, the owner paid him a second wage to also manage the theatre. As he wasn't fluent in English, through the years of competition between silent movies and then "talkies", my father employed a secretary whom he paid at above the award to assist him with the paperwork. When the depression was at its worst around 1930-31, the theatre's name changed from The Playhouse to The David Garrick Theatre. Soon after, my father was also operating a confectionary store opposite Flinders Street Railway Station, on the corner of Elizabeth Street – "Green Gate Confectionary" (named after one of the historic gates into London). It was in this business that he established the family's wealth. After I graduated with a Batchelor of Commerce, my father bought a family confectionary factory – Green Gate Confectionary - on Spencer Street. I was the CEO from 1949 until 1971. We manufactured chocolates, toffees, snowballs, and the like. When at the age of 41 a Chicago-based company made me a generous offer for the business, we decided to sell it. Up to the early seventies there were no Greek-speaking social support services whatsoever for Greek Australians. Mothers didn't know what to do with rebellious daughters, and because of a perceived lack of moral and ethical teaching, Greek kids would be sent back to Greece to be educated. This opened up the opportunity for me to work in the field of community services and social policy, particularly around cross-cultural family issues for the Greek-Australian community. I started by volunteering at the Australian Greek Welfare Society which I had helped to establish in 1972. But in order to be able to get government grants the agency would have had to employ qualified staff. As at the time (1973) there were no qualified Greek-speaking social workers in Melbourne, I went back to university to do a social work degree which, with credits from previous studies, I completed in two years. Building on experience as a social work practitioner I was also called on to work in social public policy development. Most significantly this included membership of the Galbally Committee that reviewed Australia's multicultural public policy in the late 1970s. The Fraser Government's acceptance of the committee's recommendations resulted in key parameters of Australian multiculturalism that we are all familiar with today – the establishment of SBS TV, Ethnic Communities' Councils, Migrant Resource Centres and so on. In 1981 I was proud to receive the Order of Australia medal for my contributions. Going back to 1938, when I was only 11 years old, a friend from The Olympic footy team loaned me some jazz records, and said ‘listen to these’. Once I started listening to tunes like Louis Armstrong's West End Blues – I went red in the face and realised that this was what I wanted to do. I was immediately hooked on jazz. However it was a battle to convince my parents, who expected their sons to become doctors and lawyers, to allow me to learn a musical instrument. They considered it would be a distraction from my academic studies. My brother Peter did become a lawyer. Eventually they relented and at the age of 14 I started teaching myself to play the alto saxophone and almost immediately was offered a job with Russ Marshall's Dance Band. At 16 I took up the clarinet and joined the Varsity Vipers band at Melbourne University. Because many older musicians had been called-up into military service, I was sought after to join bands well before I had achieved any sort of proficiency. I went on to perform in a succession of leading Melbourne bands performing traditional jazz, right up to the present. These bands all played what is known as New Orleans revival jazz; a subgenre of jazz internationally popular circa 1940. I commenced my recording career with Frank Johnson's Dixilanders on the Verve label in 1951. Today I continue to perform regularly with The Louisiana Shakers, a band I joined in 1994 and with whom I have toured internationally and recorded several CDs. Over my career as a musician I have had the opportunity to play alongside jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and New Orleans clarinettist George Lewis, on whom I modelled my own playing style. As I approach my ninetieth birthday, I am proud of my family's migration story – from humble and challenging circumstances on my father's small Adriatic island and my mother's township in Asia Minor, to the prosperity offered by life in Australia; and the opportunity to contribute in commerce, the law, community development, and music." Children refugees at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation in Greece One of the darkest aspects of the current refugee crisis in Europe was brought to light, when a Harvard University report found that "a growing epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant children", is taking place in Greece. According to the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights’ report Emergency Within an Emergency, many unaccompanied child refugees came to the country fleeing conflict zones (including Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and hoping to get to northern and western European countries. Stranded in Greece, and indebted to the people smugglers who charged them thousands of dollars to facilitate their journey, they are thus forced to sell their bodies in central Athens and other locations. The largest group of children forced to sell sex are Afghani, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian boys. The majority of customers are older men aged 35 and over. The phenomenon occurs in both urban and rural areas, in equally high frequency. The report found that the average price of a sexual transaction with a child is €15 (A$21.40). It also found that some of the children selling sex become addicted to drugs making it even less likely that they will be able to afford to pay smugglers and leave Greece to continue with their journeys. Greek child protection agencies received referrals for 5,174 unaccompanied migrant children in 2016, but at the end of that year only 191 had been transferred to other European countries. Almost 50 per cent of them are still stranded awaiting relocation to specialised, child-friendly accommodation. Greek authorities have made efforts to provide for these extremely vulnerable children, but there are still many who have no access to safe facilities and are at risk of exploitation and violence. The report calls for an end to the detention of child migrants in Greece, more specialised shelters for children who have been abused, an improved legal guardianship system, better data collection relating to child refugees, independent translators and separate areas in the refugee camps for children and families. PHOTO: PIXABAY Greek taxpayers declare €75,157 billion More than 75 billion euros is the total sum declared as income by Greek taxpayers in 2016. According to a report issued by the Independent Authority of Public Revenue, 6,194,233 families lodged tax returns in 2016, declaring income amounting to €75.157 billion (A$107.172bn). The tax agency was able to provide details to the National Statistics Service, dividing the income into professional activity sectors. According to that data, the majority of Greek income - €59.4bn - came from public and private sector salaries and pensions, €6.052bn came from investment property, € 4.676bn from business activity, €3.77bn from bank assets and €1.25bn from agriculture; the total taxable income amounted to €82.1bn. Sixty four per cent of Greek households declared an annual income lower than €12,000 - of which 38.16 per cent earned less than €5,000. The majority (91. 7 per cent) declared an income lower than €30,000, while only 0.4 per cent said that they earned more than € 100,000. The agency also stated that €8.028bn made it to the state coffers in 2016, most of which (77.13 per cent) was paid by the 17.6 per cent of taxpayers. 26.3 per cent of Greek households paid no tax in 2016. The Greek Supreme Court issues warning against animal cruelty The Louisiana Shakers in parade back in the day. The Supreme Court of Greece issued a stern warning against animal cruelty, urging prosecutors around the country to step in, whenever they become aware of such incidents. The deputy prosecutor of the highest court of Greece, Vassilis Pliotas came forward with the instructions, referring his colleagues to the relevant legislation of 2013 and 2014, dealing with issues of animal abuse and torture as well as financial exploitation. The warning came after a wave of complaint coming through to the authorities by citizens point- ing out cases of poisoning, hanging, dismemberment, and other acts of violence against animals. The head prosecutor urged authorities to proceed with arresting perpetrators according to standard procedure and make sure that they are held accountable for their actions, especially in cases in which the same people repeatedly perform the same actions.
8 April 2017
29 April 2017