Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, spoke to members of the Greek Australian community tonight in an inaugural Digital Conversation Series organised by The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia.
The Prime Minister, who was joined by Andrew Liveris AO, THI’s Global Chairman, focused on the role of the Greek diaspora in Greece during the discussion.
“The role of the Greek diaspora in Australia is crucial to Greece’s recovery… and we are always looking for allies to help us solve problems,” Mitsotakis said.
“We are also open to collaborate with organisations that share the same values with the Greek government.”
Mitsotakis went on to say that he hopes Greek Consulates in Australia will be digitised soon to ensure the Greek diaspora are given the same opportunities as those in Greece.
“We also want to be one of the first countries to get 5G and we want to reposition Greece as a digital hub,” he said.
Voting and Infrastructure:
When asked about how the Greek diaspora in Australia can strengthen their ties to Greece and help in their recovery, Mitsotakis pointed to two main areas: diaspora voting and infrastructure.
For voting, Mitsotakis said the election in three years time will be the first time Greece will have ballot boxes and representatives overseas, something the diaspora have been asking for.
“The younger generation, who are eligible to vote, will now have the right to vote from their home of residence,” he said.
On investments, the Greek Government will work on “supporting a new image of Greece as open for small and large investments but also open to facing future challenges.”
Celebrations for 2021 next year:
Independence Day celebrations for next year were also top of the agenda during the Digital Speaker Series, with Mitsotakis saying celebrations will be “slightly different” this year “in line with what Greece has to offer post-2021.”
“We are excited to celebrate the emergence of modern Greece but celebrations will be more measured. We are still excited for the year to come,” the Prime Minister said.
The recent announcement that Melbourne will become the first city to house a permanent Benaki Museum outside of Greece, was also discussed.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Benaki and Hellenic Museum for working with developers to construct the new Greek museum.
“Benaki museum’s collaboration with The Hellenic Museum in Melbourne, is an example of how we can bring the Greek culture to Australia,” he said.
Turkey was also a hot topic during the discussion, with Mitsotakis clearly describing their neighbour’s actions as “provocative.”
“Turkey has changed profoundly. One can’t rely on it as a stable ally. But we will not be bullied, we will not be blackmailed or forced into a dialogue,” he said, adding that they will continue to work with international organisations to help their cause.