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George Lekakis about ECCV in relation to Premier Kennet

George Lekakis.

George Lekakis describes the strategies of the ECCV in relation to Premier Kennet



Date Added:

23 February 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

6.3 MB






At the same time that we were arguing against Ruddock and Howard, through the council and basically making the Ethnic Communities’ Council a body to be reckoned with politically. At the same time, we were looking at the state. And we had a pro-multiculturalist premier, Jeffrey Kennett. And Phil Honeywood and his advisors, Katseris (sp?) and a whole range of other people. And Stefan Lomineu (sp?) who managed the commission at the time. They seemingly had a distinct course. Which was: supporting our communities as best they could. But we could see elements of the bureaucracy not responding.


And we could see, whilst the rhetoric was very positive, and the support for multiculturalism was out there, in terms of its translations to programs and services, apart from some initiatives that ministers did, there seems to be a drawing back and we discovered that when we came in. By the nature of the briefings that the then premier was receiving when we came in, about pandering to the ethnic lobby.


There wasn’t much support for multiculturalism but we beat all that and I’m very proud that we did. And I’m proud of the fact that Steve Bracks took up the mantle.


We had some clear connections with Steve Bracks, we had gone in to see him, whilst I was chair of the ECC. And we had outlined a ten point plan for Victoria. We wanted specific things to be done, both in legislative terms and in program terms. We’ve achieved nine out of the 10.


The first time I met Phil Honeywood for example and Jeff Kennett, I put to them, the notion that we need a multicultural act for Victoria and a racial and religious tolerance act but more specifically a multicultural act for Victoria. And I did that in my first delegation to the newly elected Liberal Government in 1993. And they blatantly refused and said, “No.” And I knew that the signal wasn’t going to be positive from them. So whether I went back to them – you know, seven years or six years later, wasn’t going to reverse their view.


They’d already been approached by other communities about racial and religious tolerance legislation and yet said, “No.” We knew what their agenda was. We knew what allocations that they were making. And we knew the types of programs they would support and those that they wouldn’t.


But we went in to see Steve and we outlined our 10 point plan and what we wanted and he, obviously by my appointment signalled that that 10 point plan was to be supported.


End transcript