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Australia’s Prime Minister makes surprise visit to Antipodes Festival

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a surprise visit to the Antipodes Festival on Lonsdale Street in Melbourne, Victoria, on Saturday, February 24.

Mr Albanese arrived at the event alongside his new fiancée Jodie Haydon, and was greeted by the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM), Bill Papastergiadis, and the Federal Minister for Multiculturalism, Andrew Giles.

antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Anthony Albanese arrives. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Mr Albanese, his fiancée and Minister Giles speak with Bill Papastergiadis. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Albanese meets with the local Greek youth. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.

Whilst ushering him to the stage to speak with the packed crowd outside, Mr Papastergiadis thanked Mr Albanese for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the Antipodes Festival, to which the Prime Minister replied, “I’ve heard you can’t say no to Bill Papastergiadis.”

On stage, the conversation continued with Mr Papastergiadis welcoming Mr Albanese to “the biggest festival in the global Greek diaspora.” The GCM President also asked the Prime Minister what his favourite place in Melbourne was.

antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Bill Papastergiadis (left), Anthony Albanese MP (centre) and Andrew Giles MP (right) on stage. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Antipodes Festival’s organising committee. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.
antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Mary Sinanidis.

“Stalactites, just here,” Mr Albanese said with a laugh, pointing at the nearby iconic restaurant on Lonsdale Street. “It’s where I always used to come when I visited Melbourne.”

The Australian Prime Minister – who has Italian heritage and grew up in the predominantly Greek suburb of Marrickville in Sydney – added that he was excited to be at an event surrounded by “the largest Greek population outside of Greece in Melbourne.”

“The Festival has been going for almost 40 years and getting bigger and better, and that is a great privilege,” Mr Albanese said.

The official appearance concluded with Mr Papastergiadis thanking Minister Giles for helping bring the Prime Minister to the Antipodes Festival. The GCM President also presented Mr Albanese and his fiancée with an engagement gift from the latest Korres and Mecca collaboration.

antipodes festival bill papastergiadis anthony albanese
Bill Papastergiadis gives a gift to Anthony Albanese and his fiancée. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

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