Rann in church wrangle
The Greek Orthodox church of St. Dimitrios in Salisbury, Adelaide has been caught in the middle of an exchange of political fire.
South Australia’s State Opposition Shadow Minister of Finance Rob Lucas has highlighted the large grant that the parish of St. Demetrios received in 2006 from the Special Premier’s Fund.
Mr Lucas has seized the opportunity to accuse SA Premier Mike Rann of a conflict of interest in the matter since the parish is located in his electorate, the area of Ramsay.
The issue of the $473,000 grant to St. Dimitrios was first reported in 2007, after evidence given to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee confirmed the existence of the Premier’s Special Appeal Fund that was controlled by Mr Rann.
Usually the fund would allocate small grants between $3,000 to $5,000 to community organisations. Although an amount ceiling was never established, the grant to St. Dimitrios is by far the largest ever allocated through this fund. The amount was used for the building of a new Cultural and Learning Centre.
The recent reappearance of the issue in the local media is the aftermath of revelations made in the Parliament about grants approvals to sporting clubs and the consequent prompt by Mr Lucas of the St. Dimitrios grant.
It should be noted that in a press release from 2007 Mr Lucas questioned the use of the funds.
“Whilst the Government claims this funding was used for a ‘Cultural and Learning Centre’, I have been informed that a significant portion of the grant was actually spent on providing an enormous roof to accommodate an outdoor area,” Mr Lucas said in his press release.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE), Mr Lucas stood by his statement but stopped short of calling it a misappropriation of funds.
The priest of the St. Dimitrios Parish, however, Rev. Christos Tsoraklidis disputed Mr Lucas’s claims and argued that the outdoor roof project was not covered by the Premier’s Fund grant. “We have submitted audited accounts to the last cent regarding our projects,” Rev. Tsoraklidis said.
“Mr Lucas is mistaken because the roof was built at a cost of approximately $80,000 that didn’t come from the grant but from our own fundraising efforts,” he added.
Reverend Tsorkalidis stressed the fact that Mr Lucas had never visited his parish nor had he attempted to inspect what was built with the grant. “I don’t understand what Mr Lucas’ problem is,” Rev Tsoraklidis wondered.
When asked by NKEE, Mr Lucas clarified that his issue is not with St. Dimitrios but that Mr Rann had a conflict of interest he had to address.
In a recent press release Mr Rann had stated that advice he’s received from the Deputy Crown Solicitor indicates that the simple fact that an organisation was located in his electorate does not raise the potential for a conflict interest.
Mr Lucas confirmed that for the time being he is not pursuing a wider investigation into the matter.
“Our criticism and concern is directed at the processes the Premier has used in terms of the granting of the money. We’re not directing criticism at the church or the individuals involved in the church,” Mr Lucas said.
- Register Now
- More Greeks calling Australia home
- Paedophilia charge for Greek Australian
- Golden Dawn's Australian aspirations uncovered
- Greek Adelaide church in hot water again
- AFP show support for Cyprus
- Sixth place for Alcohol is Free
- Man sues Qatar over drinks car accident
- Do it like the Greeks says German consul
- Marxist reporter won praise for his work
- ND and SYRIZA in Golden Dawn row
- 8 May 2013 | 12 Votes
- 15 May 2013 | 9 Votes
- 3 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 8 May 2013 | 8 Votes
- 13 May 2013 | 7 Votes
- 24 Apr 2013 | 6 Votes
More from this Section
- High Tea for Ark of the World
- The man with all the flowers
- Kastellorizians to award their best
- Battle of Crete Anniversary to be commemorated at Cenotaph
- Greek Australian women talk: how to make a succesful career?
- Constantinidis to give lecture at Melbourne Museum
- $30,000 grant for Greek community of Newcastle
- Prahran High School students reunite
- Mother's Day celebration with Katerina Vrana
- Public lecture on the history of Greek cinema
Wendy Jobson stole more than $7.8 million from the Koroneos Group in 1478 separate transactions over a five year period
Highly sought after fashion stylist Vass Arvanitis talks to Neos Kosmos about the styling industry and gives advice on what to wear this winter
Golden Dawn's aspirations to open an Australian chapter will be the feature of this Tuesday's Dateline on SBS
NSW government donated of $29,450 to the Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of the Holy Apostles
Community involvement will save dwindling programs like Ancient Greek says Professor K.O Chong-Gossard.
Coach Tony Popovic has repeatedly stressed the Wanderers' need to continue to improve next season
Kathy Tsaples famous recipe for a spinach pita
Dr Peter Kambouris says a new generation of robots can transform Australia's manufacturing sector and create safer, more efficient
The Victorian Premier League returns this weekend with Round Five, and South Melbourne welcome Richmond Eagles, and their new coach, in their first home game this season
Mum's the word for a special comedy event for the Pansamian House
An anti-racism bill aimed at reining in the ultra-right Golden Dawn party by imposing tougher penalties on the incitement of racist violence has caused a major rift
A conversation with three succesful women in finance and banking will give advice on how to succeed in business
New Democracy, SYRIZA trade barbs over how to tackle Golden Dawn
Coach Graham Arnold still has high hopes for a win next week
A Greek Australian part of the trucking company at the centre of the alleged fraud, Viking Group, was involved in the 'severe bashing'.
Greek supporters left without Greek derby, as Oakleigh Cannons decide not to enter the FFV Knockout Cup match with South Melbourne
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has mounted a passionate defence of Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme and branded dissident Liberal backbencher Alex Hawke
MP Maria Vamvakinou has vowed to stop Golden Dawn opening Australian offices after what she saw in Greece