SA Premier hosts Greek community to celebrate Independence Day

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By Peter Tantalos.

On the riverbank of the Torrens, the Honourable Peter Malinauskas MP, Premier of South Australia together with George Psiachas, Consul General of Greece in Adelaide and Dean of the Consular Corps of SA, co-hosted a reception for the Greek community to commemorate the 203rd Greek Independence Day.

The event saw participation from a diverse array of attendees from the Greek community, representing their respective local and industry organisations, including members from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia (GOAA) and the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA).

In his address, the SA Premier commemorated the pivotal moment in history, stating that “203 years ago, revolution began, when the people of Greece rose up to throw off the chains of the Ottoman Empire, creating the first modern European nation state. Their courage did more than change Greece – it transformed the face of Europe.”

The Premier explained that the triumph of the Greek independence, which started as a small and underfunded revolutionary force, was the first expression of national character in an age when Europe was predominantly under imperial rule.

“For a full decade, the people of Greece fought for their liberty, an expression of the same revolutionary spirit from which the United States was born, and it fuelled the growing nationalist movements that would soon catch fire across Europe – first in Greece, then in Italy, Spain, Belgium, France and later Poland, Bulgaria and beyond,” he said.

The Premier added that Europe today was only made possible because of the bravery of the Greek people, being inspired by the cause of freedom and people being able to chart their own destiny in their own lands.

He concluded by thanking the Greek community for their role in forming the fabric of South Australian society, through their contribution to politics, the judiciary, arts, sports, and universities – but also, through their generosity and warmth in sharing the value systems that accord with South Australians and the Australian people more broadly.

Mr Psiachas has been the Consul General for Greece in Adelaide for the past five years, with his term ending in July 2024. As a token of thanks, Premier Malinauskas presented Mr Psiachas with a token for his hard work throughout the course of representing Greece in SA.

Mr Psiachas then addressed the South Australian Greek community at his last South Australian Independence Day address.

“The Greek national perception, when we look into the past, [does] not stop two centuries ago. We delve back millennia, reaching all the way back to our glorious ancient history, as well as out of Byzantium which lasted over 11 centuries. During those times, Greeks contributed a lot to humanity in all fields of human achievement,” Mr Psiachas said.

The Consul General then offered an insightful overview of the modern Greek nation’s status within the global community and its economic landscape. Mr Psiachas detailed Greece’s position as a vital member of the European Union, emphasising its integration with the common Euro currency and its strategic importance in South-eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Members of the Hellenic Consulate- General in South Australia.
Members of the Hellenic Consulate- General in South Australia.

Highlighting a significant turnaround, Mr Psiachas proudly announced that Greece has emerged from its financial crisis, witnessing a resurgence in foreign direct investment and an economic upturn. This revival is drawing people back to the country, encouraged by growing opportunities across various sectors.

According to Mr Psiachas, the past five years have been transformative for Greece, with comprehensive reforms undertaken to ensure long-term sustainability and growth. These reforms span environmental sustainability, renewable energy initiatives, the introduction of non-public educational services, and the revitalisation of key industries.

This event, and the diverse range of Greek community representatives in attendance, emphasises the vibrant spirit and enduring strength of the Greek community in SA and the diaspora’s commitment to preserving and promoting Greek customs, traditions, and culture. As Greece strides toward a period of significant growth and prosperity, overcoming its recent challenges, the community in SA is energised by the progress and reforms in the homeland.

Ms Sue Farina and Ms Chrysoula Heisler.
Ms Sue Farina and Ms Chrysoula Heisler.
Ms Zaharoula Moutzouris, Mr Dion Vithoulkas , Mr Elia Hatzopoulos and Mr Jamieson Noutsatos.
Ms Zaharoula Moutzouris, Mr Dion Vithoulkas , Mr Elia Hatzopoulos and Mr Jamieson Noutsatos.

Dignitaries included Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Energy and Mining The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP, The Hon. Zoe Bettison MP, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, The Hon. Andrea Michaels MP, Minister for Arts, Minister for Small and Family Business and Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs, The Hon. Chris Kourakis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, The Hon. Olivia Savvas MP, Member for Newland, The Hon. Jing Lee MLC representing the Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Connie Bonaros MLC, Mr Lee Dong, Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China, and Mr Enresto Pianelli, Consul General of Italy in South Australia.

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