Bill Shorten and Maria Vamvakinou visit Melbourne’s Greek Centre

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The former leader of the Federal Labor Party, Bill Shorten, paid a visit to the Greek Centre where he met with members of the Board of Directors and discussed issues related to the Greek community, including the return of the Marbles of Parthenon.

Mr Shorten was welcomed by the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis OAM, Vice Presidents Anthea Sidiropoulos and Michael Karamitos, General Secretary Nick Koukouvitakis, and the Treasurer Marinis Pirpiris.

‘It is great to have you at the Greek Centre once again.  You have been to every major event we organised in the past,” said Mr Papastergiadis.

Mr Shorten acknowledged the contribution of the Greek migrants to Australia by saying that “we are lucky to have so many people of Greek heritage”.

“The Australians of Greek heritage made a great contribution to  Australia”, he said. “We are very lucky to have so many people of Greek heritage. For the Greek-Australians, the Greeks, and for all Australians who love the history of Greece, the UK must return the Parthenon Marbles. They were taken in a different time, and now is the time for the British Government and the British Museum to return a cornerstone of Greek heritage to their home in Greece, so that everyone can enjoy them.”

Also, Federal MP Maria Vamvakinou visited the offices of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM).

Ms Vamvakinou met with the President of the GCM Bill Papastergiadis, Vice President Anthea Sidiropoulos, and the members of the Board of Directors Dr Spyridoula Dimitriou and Dr Nikos Dallas.

Issues concerning the GCM and the Greek community were discussed with Ms. Vamvakinou, such as the call of the Labor Party in Parliament for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

“It is an issue that as the Labor Party, and as politicians who have good and long-term relations with the Greek community, we are interested in and want to promote, so that one day we can achieve the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” Ms Vamvakinou said.

Mr. Papastergiadis welcomed the Opposition’s initiative to submit a proposal to the federal parliament for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. “We applaud this move but also the way the government treats issues of multiculturalism.

“Our Greek Center has been characterized as the Parthenon of the Southern Hemisphere. This is very important for us. We are very happy with the proposal the Labor Party made, and we wish you success.”

On behalf of the GCM Board of Directors, Ms Anthea Sidiropoulos thanked Ms Vamvakinou for her visit to the Greek Center.

“I thank Maria Vamvakinou for visiting us today. I wish you on behalf of the Board the all the best and especially to succeess with your initiative for the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” she said.

Dr Spyridoula Dimitriou said that she was glad for the installation of the copy of the Parthenon Frieze in the GCM building:

“I am personally glad for the installation of a copy of the Parthenon Frieze in the Greek Community building. I am happy as a Greek when I go to Greece and see the Parthenon. Now, here in Melbourne we will have our own in the Greek Center. When I come here I will always smile. I’ll feel good and proud of that.”

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