Greek National Day dilemma: Questions remain unanswered by Victorian Council

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Some members of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day have raised concerns around its constitution, as well as the upcoming Greek Independence Day parade on April 14 at Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.

The Victorian Council for Greek National Day is made up of representatives from all of Victoria’s major Greek organisations and was established to organise commemoration events for Greece’s Independence Day on March 25 each year. The current Chairman is Cretan Australian, Tony Tsourdalakis.

According to The Greek Herald‘s sources, the Panepirotic Federation of Australia and the MANASIS School of Greek Dance and Culture both sent letters to Mr Tsourdalakis with questions they wanted raised at a Council meeting scheduled for February 6 this year.

Tony tsourdalakis restraining order cretan president
Tony Tsourdalakis was sent letters of concern from members of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day.

The Panepirotic Federation of Australia’s letter addresses changes to the Council’s Constitution, in particular:

  • Questions around who approved the registration of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day in 2019; what happened to the old body; why the rules of the old body were not incorporated into the new body; and who was invited to the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at the time.
  • Questions around who approved the name change from Organisational Committee Greek National Day Incorporated to Victorian Council Greek National Day on 9 May 2023; and who was invited to the EGM at the time.

The Federation also asked for the Council Committee to:

  • Provide the invite chain with all member’s emails showing who was invited to both of the above EGM’s;
  • Provide a full list of all members of the organisation and when they became members and how they were approved as members; and
  • Read out at the February 6 meeting all letters received by the Council.

In a separate letter, the Director of the MANASIS School of Greek Dance and Culture, Dimosthenis Manasis, raised concerns about the Council’s organisation of the Greek Independence Day parade on April 14.

Greek-Independence-Day-march-at-Lakeside-2-1024x769
File photo of last year’s Greek Independence Day parade at Lakeside Stadium.

Although much later than the usual March 25 date, Mr Tsourdalakis has said April 14 was the only feasible date for the Greek Independence Day celebration because March is cluttered with a number of other events including Labour Day, the Children’s Marathon, Grand Prix and Catholic Easter.

Mr Manasis said whilst he is not concerned what day or month the event is booked on, his issue lies in the lack of communication between the Council and people who want to participate in the parade.

Mr Manasis said the last communication he had with the Council about anything parade-related was in October 2023, despite media reports stipulating Committee members had consulted with colleges and organisations. This lack of communication, he said, means the MANASIS School already has conflicting commercial obligations which cannot be cancelled.

The dance instructor also alleged his students were called “traitors” for opting to attend last year’s parade with the MANASIS School rather than their day school.

To date, The Greek Herald understands none of the concerns raised within both letters have been addressed by Mr Tsourdalakis or his Committee. Instead, at the February 6 Council meeting, Mr Tsourdalakis and Council Secretary Natasha Spanos said they would step down from their roles at the end of this year’s parade.

natasha spanos
Natasha Spanos has resigned as Secretary of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day.

This comes as Jim Grivokostopoulos (Grivas) also abruptly resigned from his position as Treasurer of the Victorian Council for Greek National Day during a general meeting on December 11 last year.

When resigning, Mr Grivas said he felt unable to do his job properly as Treasurer because he was never provided access to the Council’s financial records or invoices in order to verify the P&L statement. Mr Grivas’ access was restricted despite requesting to see the financials.

While Mr Grivas stipulated in his resignation that he believed “nothing untoward” was behind the restricted access to the financials, he did put forward a motion calling for an independent audit committee to review the last three years of financial statements.

This motion was passed by the committee members present and it was agreed that the audit committee would be made up of three people: Mr Grivas himself, Father John and Arthur Andronas.

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