what's happening / news / Greek Ball - Speech from the Hon. Mark Coure MP

Greek Ball - Speech from the Hon. Mark Coure MP

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Dharug people.

I also acknowledge:

Our hosts:

  • Mr Sam Giovas, President, Macquarie University Greek Students Association, also known as MUGA
  • Mr Theo Premetis, President, Macquarie Greek Studies Foundation
  • Mr Christos Karras, Consul-General of Greece for NSW, and… their hard-working team at the consulate.

Distinguished guests, who include:

  • His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of Australia and the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
  • Ms Sophie Cotsis MP, Member for Canterbury
  • And, of course, Ladies and gentlemen.

Yia sas! (hello to you all in Greek)

It is a great pleasure to be with you all this evening for one of the most anticipated nights on the Greek social calendar, the Annual Greek Ball. Everyone in this room deserves to share in the celebration of their achievements this evening.

I wish to begin by extending my heartfelt congratulations to the Macquarie University Greek Students Association and the Macquarie Greek Studies Foundation.

Thank you for bringing us together to celebrate the splendours of Hellenism. Greek is a beautiful language with a rich history that has shaped the way people all over the world speak, read, write and think. Indeed, Greek is the same language used by those ancient moral, intellectual and academic leaders, whose ideas form the foundation of our civilization.

I also know from that great movie—My Big Fat Greek Wedding—maybe you’ve seen it—that every word in the English language has a Greek root. If anyone can tell me what my name means in Greek tonight, that would be brilliant.

In any case, today, the Greek language links the Hellenic diaspora across the world, working to preserve and spread your wonderful culture. There is something incredibly powerful in being able to speak another language. I know that it leads to enormous benefits—not just for individuals, but for society as a whole.

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I want people to be empowered to learn a language through university, TAFE, or at one of the many community language schools we have in New South Wales.

More than that though, I would love to see people take an interest in the languages of their family, friends, work colleagues and even neighbours.

My own son, James comes home each day from school with another Greek word added to his vocabulary—thanks to all his Greek-Australian classmates. Mind you—I don’t think I can repeat any of those words up on this stage this evening, but it’s the thought that counts!

I have had a long and prosperous relationship with the Greek community in NSW, both within my own electorate and beyond. The Greek community has always made me feel right at home. Your hospitality and generosity has left an indelible mark on our community here in New South Wales.

As recent as yesterday afternoon I met with some representatives of the Greek community at their headquarters in Rockdale. In the classic Greek way, I was offered arak, coffee and water—in that order.

Those of Hellenic heritage have made many sacrifices to build this great state of ours. They illustrate the vital role that Greek migrants and generations of their Greek-Australians descendants have played in shaping New South Wales. You’ve done this through your determination to succeed, to contribute and to give back.

While the Greek community here has typified those strong values, they are shared by all in our great multicultural society. This is what makes New South Wales such an attractive place for people all around the world to live, work and study. There are more than 133,000 people of Greek ancestry living in NSW—and that number continues to grow.

I know I speak on behalf of our state when I say we are incredibly grateful that you’re here. We are grateful for your contributions to our society. We are grateful for your contributions to public life. We are grateful for your contributions to our businesses and education system. And, of course, we’re grateful to organisations like the Macquarie University Greek Students Association and the Macquarie Greek Studies Foundation.

You are stewards of the culture, history and values of Greek migrants within our communities. I cannot understate how important it is that you continue to preserve and promote Hellenic culture, traditions and language here in New South Wales.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you again for your support for these valued organisations and thank you for your support for their worthy aims.

I hope you enjoy the ball.

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