Labor supported the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW in its calls to light up the sails of the Opera House with the colours of the Greek flag. Initially the idea was rejected, however Neos Kosmos has sources which state that the plan may go ahead.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay wrote to the Premier on Tuesday following requests from Member for Canterbury Sophie Cotsis, member for Rockdale Steve Kamper and the Member of the Legislative Council Courtney Houssos in December which were ignored.
“The bicentennial celebration of the commencement of the Greek War of Independence is a significant milestone and calls to light up the sails of the Opera House should not be ignored by the Government,” Ms McKay said.
The Honorable Mark Buttigieg MLC addressed NSW Parliament on Wednesday in an attempt to sway NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and convince the state government to project the Greek flag onto the iconic building on 25 March 2021.
On his Facebook page, Mr Buttigieg states: “Today in Parliament – I pointed out the Berejiklian government’s rank hypocrisy – it’s fine to project adverts for gambling onto the Opera House but not the Greek 🇬🇷 in recognition of Greek Independence Day! The Berejiklian Government should respect the wonderful people with Greek heritage that live in our state!”
He said this is ”an insult, a slap in the face to the Greek people and a slap in the face to our democracy.”
Costa Dantos addressed a letter to the staff members of the Sydney Opera House members. He writes:
As a young and very active member of multiple large Greek organisations in New South Wales, I am surprised and disappointed at the $50,000 request given to the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW to display the Greek flag on the sails of the Sydney Opera House on 25 March this year.
The Greek community in New South Wales and Australia have played a large role in the development of Australia, and have hosted many events at the Sydney Opera House. For something that costs very little to display, and where different flags and colours are displayed throughout the year for multiple terrorist and other negative events, I would implore the display of the Greek flag this year.
It would improve the relations between the Greek community and the Sydney Opera House who usually hosts their Independence Day event on your forecourt. Greek people are also very active on social media with the display of the Greek flag on the sails of the Opera House being definitely expected to go viral to Greeks and friends of Greeks throughout the world which can also assist with tourism. The Greek flag would also look magnificent aesthetically on the Sydney Opera House sails and amongst the Sydney skyline.
This year it is for the 200-year anniversary since Greece began gaining Greek Independence from the Ottoman Empire, so we do not expect a display every year as nice as that would be too. This year, events have been largely disturbed by COVID-19, and for the 100-year anniversary, a war was going on between Greece and Turkey so again celebrations for independence were cancelled.
For the 180,000 Greeks in New South Wales and nearly 1 million Greeks around Australia, I would ask that the $50,000 price tag is removed completely or at least significantly reduced. The changing of illumination would cost somewhere between nothing or very little, and its commercialisation for this iconic global structure is sad and futile in this instance.
I hope a change of heart is demonstrated so the Greeks in the world and all Sydneysiders can see the most important day in our national calendar in 100 years celebrated close to home on our favourite Australian icon.
This afternoon, the petition had gathered 1,236 signatures.