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‘A victory for every Greek Australian’: Basil Zempilas reflects on tough election campaign

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Basil Zempilas was officially elected the City of Perth’s new Lord Mayor exactly one month ago.

Beating out former ABC journalist Di Bain in a neck-and-neck count at Council House, Zempilas admitted recently that his victory was a “tough win” yet was a win for “every Greek Australian”.

“Particularly it’s a victory for every Kastelorizian Greek Australian,” the newly elected Lord Mayor said during a ‘Kazzie Connect’ event, hosted by the Kastellorizian Association of Victoria (KAV).

“We’ve shared similar journeys and every time a Greek Aussie or Kazzi Aussie rises to a place of prominence, I’ve always thought this in my TV career too, I’m not just doing it for me I’m doing it for my family and doing it for all of us.”

The Perth television personality previously said to The Greek Herald that he’s always been on the lookout to give back to the city and run for office, yet the time never seemed right until now. Being in office for one month, expectations run high for large development announcements in the Western Australian capital.

“It’s about putting on compelling people focused events and attractions to bring people back,” he said.  

READ MORE: Exclusive: Basil Zempilas – ‘My heart beats true for Greece and Perth’
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“We have a small residential population in the city, it’s only about 28,000. It needs to be at about 90,000 by the year 2050.”

The goals proposed by Mr Zempilas during his election campaign centred on making the City of Perth a safer, cleaner and friendlier city.

Speaking with KAV President Nik Spartels, Zempilas said the city isn’t as safe as it used to be, making a personal observation that people don’t feel as welcome in their city as they did when they were children.

Channel 7 personality Basil Zempilas at Elizabeth Quay. Basil Zempilas with wife Amy and their children Ava 9, Anthony 2 and Chloe 6. Picture Jackson Flindell The West Australian

“We have a university coming to the city which is terrific, and we need to get on with the government to make sure we can do things together, but we need to create the right environment,” he added.

“We need to make it a safer city, friendlier city and more attractive environment.”

The Lord Mayor shared his love for his Greek and Kastellorizian heritage, adding that people should be “fiercely proud” of their Hellenism. Yet, Basil said being Greek is only second best thing in his life.

“The best thing that happened to us, was that our ancestors chose Australia to be there home,” Basil said proudly.

“Go to the Greek church, learn the language, maintain the customs, but we have to remember, we’re Australians…. This has given us all the wonderful opportunities we have, this country.”

Asked by The Greek Herald what keeps the busy media personality grounded in life, Basil said his role as a husband and father is the “best role he has”.

“I feel very blessed to have such a loving family environment where we speak honestly and is a reminder where no matter what games your flying away to, or Olympics or Weekend Sunrise, it’s what you do at home that really defines you.”

“There are things I want to achieve as Lord Mayor, but in my own career and own life it’s just to be best husband I can be, best father I can be, best son I can be and best brother I can be,” Basil concluded.

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