‘Want to work closely with them’: NSW Labor Leader’s election pitch to Greek Australians

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When The Greek Herald first spoke to Chris Minns MP in November 2021, he had just completed five months as the NSW Labor Leader. At the time, the Member for Kogarah hit the ground running, working with multicultural communities and small businesses across western and south-western Sydney to help them navigate life after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flashforward to 2023 – a state election year – and Mr Minns has his party within reach of forming a Labor government in NSW after 12 long years in opposition. That is, according to a recent Resolve Strategic poll which shows Labor ahead of the NSW Liberals with a primary vote of 37 percent.

But despite these results pointing to a victory for Mr Minns at the state election on March 25 this year, he doesn’t plan on becoming complacent.

In fact, as The Greek Herald sat down with the NSW Labor Leader for a second time, he said he will continue to actively re-engage with the state’s Greek community.

Chris Minns pictured here in 2021 with Greek Australian Members of Parliament. (L-R) Steve Kamper MP, Courtney Houssos MP, Chris Minns MP and Sophie Cotsis MP. Photo copyright: The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

“I don’t see all Greek voters voting the same way,” Mr Minns told The Greek Herald seriously.

“Obviously it’s a big, diverse, sophisticated group. Greek Australians make up nearly every senior position of politics, the law, government and business.

“Our approach to getting that community on side would really have to be comprehensive and I think that if you look at our plans to grow the economy, to invest in frontline public services – that’s our pitch to Greek Australians right across NSW.”

Mr Minns has consistently stuck to a deliberately narrow platform focused on public services, in particular health and education, as well as cost of living relief. This focus on soaring living costs comes as no surprise. Resolve Strategic research found 93 percent of voters listed rising prices for fresh food and groceries as their top concern ahead of the election.

Apart from these priorities, the NSW Labor Leader said he’s also focused on ambitious policies such as a ban on privatisation, and scrapping the controversial public sector wages bill.

“We really fear privatisation of government utilities, particularly monopoly assets, has meant higher prices for NSW families, so we want to stop privatisation in the state,” Mr Minns said.

“Secondly, we believe we can build transport infrastructure right here in NSW and that means bringing back domestic manufacturing.

“We also have to tackle health. We’ve got a situation at the moment where 66,000 people walked into an emergency department and turned around and left without getting any treatment at all because of chronic delays at emergency departments in this state.

“We’ve got an ageing population. We need the kind of healthcare that’s required in the state and I’m worried the government is not focused on it enough and doesn’t have a plan to fix it.”

When we asked Mr Minns what his own plan is to tackle these important issues, he said there is “no silver bullet” solution but points to a number of election promises made recently by NSW Labor. These include a $400 million ‘Education Future Fund’ to end the “underfunding of public schools,” upgrades to Canterbury, Fairfield, Mount Druitt and Blacktown Hospitals, as well as the establishment of a multicultural domestic and family violence centre.

Speaking of this multicultural centre, Mr Minns said he will work with independent multicultural media to ensure vital election announcements get to the communities and individuals who need to know about them.

“We really relied in particular on independent multicultural media to get the message out to communities across western and south-western Sydney around vaccinations and restrictions that were in place to keep people safe during COVID-19,” the politician explained.

“It was a reminder of how important those communication pathways are… so I want to work closely with those outlets.”

With that being said, Mr Minns stressed he wanted to send a special message to the Greek Australian community via The Greek Herald.

“Being the Member for Kogarah and growing up in the St George community, I have been in and around Greek culture my entire life… and in a small way, I think that thousands of years of the values of democracy, philosophy and cultural relics, have imprinted themselves on the Australian community – which I’m deeply grateful for,” Mr Minns said.

“So thank you for the richness of [Greek] culture that you have brought to Australia. The imprint you have left on the Australian landscape is incalculable.”

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