SYDNEY | Australians turned out in their thousands this weekend at the Greek Festivals of Sydney and Melbourne. A rally planned in Sydney for Monday February 16, at 5:30pm, at Sydney Town Hall will reinforce the message heard at the Festivals.
The rally has been organised by the Australia-Greece Solidarity Campaign. The key message of the rally is that Australians are ready to support Greece as it fights for a fair and sustainable deal on debt. A deal to allow its people to live with their dignity and a reasonable hope for their future.
Harry Danalis, president of Greek Orthodox Community of NSW has expressed support for the Greek government in its negotiations to get a fairer deal on debt and relief from austerity measure imposed as a condition of loan agreements.
“We now have a government in Athens that is finally prepared to take a stand against the troika and the EU, and we’re with them,” he said.
“What we want to do is more broadly publicise the plight of the Greek people. The information we get here is often filtered,” added the Community president.
“The message we’ll be promoting is that the plight of the Greek people is serious and severe, and people should support what the new Greek government is trying to do.”
In Victoria, president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne, Bill Papastergiadis, said “We support our brothers and sisters there in their journey to renegotiate a fairer bailout agreement.”
The rally is and is part of a broader campaign titled “Let Greece Breathe”. The Campaign Coordinator, Mr Adam Rorris, said the aim was to demonstrate the strong Australian support for the Greek people in their current crisis.
“Australians have a long history of engagement with Greek people through the massive migration program that has made them neighbours and friends of many in Australia. Australia also shares a common bond of sacrifice in war as both countries fought side by side in Greece to defend Europe from the scourge of fascism in the twentieth century”, said Mr Rorris. He added that:
“What we are expressing today is support for Greece so that it be given a fair deal on debt that doesn’t strangle the economy and decimate the living standards of ordinary Greeeks.”
“When a country has under the duress of it lenders implemented policies that have seen it lose 25% of its GDP, rendered half its youth unemployed, destroyed its health system and produced child malnutrition rates not seen since the German occupation, you know that its time to change course. The new Greek government was in fact elected because it promised to change course, and the international agencies are beholden to recognise the wisdom and validity of that decision”
“Australia must use its voice in the IMF and through other diplomatic means to make it clear that it does not support the imposition of sovereign debt programs which are unviable in terms of recovery and lead to great hardship for ordinary people on the street”, said Mr Rorris.