We need to show compassion
It has been a year of mixed blessings and tragedy. For the families of those asylum seekers, men, women and children, who perished on the rocky shore of Christmas Island last week the word Christmas will always resonate darkly.
Nor will Christmas be the same for those on the island who witnessed such tragedy and attempted to help.
The Gillard Government and the Opposition must finally put an end to the xenophobic refugee policies which have characterised Australia since 1996.
They must forge a bipartisan and humane policy, limiting the desire for people to take such extraordinary risks to get here.
Australia is militarily engaged in the Iraq and Afghan wars, our government admonishes Iran as the tyranny it is, yet we shut our doors to people desperate to leave those nations.
Maturity, intelligence and long term solutions are needed to the global issue of asylum seekers.
Greece, with its desperate financial crisis, has an influx of over 120,000 asylum seekers a year. Australia, one of the few nations to weather the global economic storm, a wealthy nation, has approximately 2,000 'illegal' asylum seekers a year.
The Gillard Government must stand for something. It must clarify its agenda on immigration, multiculturalism and the environment and if it can not bring the Opposition along, it must then differentiate itself.
On the other hand, the Federal Coalition must take a leaf out of the recent electoral success of the Baillieu Government in Victoria.
The Liberal Party can succeed with a liberal agenda. Playing wedge politics on race and the environment is neither electorally savvy, nor good policy for Australia.
After all, Abbott did not win government, but real liberal Ted Baillieu did.
On the Greek Australian front, it was a year in which we proved as a community and as a media outlet, that when a real and tangible challenge arose we could respond effectively.
When Wales Street Primary School in Northcote, Melbourne, dumped Modern Greek, parents, the Greek Community and Neos Kosmos rallied support and it looks like it will be re-introduced.
Neos Kosmos led a campaign which saw a petition of 25,000 signatures handed to the Federal Government in support of Modern Greek's inclusion in the National Curriculum.
Greek Australians are increasingly diverse, yet we are moved by issues which have bearing on our language and heritage.
There were successes for Greek Australians in 2010, businesses flourished; VCE students scored well; Greek day schools strengthened; artists won awards; we sustained our presence in the culture, politics and economy of this nation.
At Christmas, we should reflect on where we came from. We were no different to those souls who now seek a new beginning from wretchedness and tyranny in Australia. Once we were the unwanted foreigners.
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