On 4 December, 124 councils across NSW will be holding elections.

Dozens of Greek Australians are among the 3,800 candidates vying for seats, eager to serve their communities while also endorsing diversity and multiculturalism in their local areas.

A large cluster of candidates of Greek heritage is in the Bayside area, which includes the suburbs of South Sydney and the St George area.

Vicky Roussos vying for a seat on Bayside Council said she would like to bring back the Greek festival to Bay Street, make a new Greek Centre at Bexley RSL Club and reconnect with the sister city of Glyfada among other things, while Connie Gerakis from Bayside Ward 3 told Neos Kosmos that her “Greek values” played a role in her decision to run, and Andrew Tsounis proudly declares that Bayside was one of the few councils in Australia that marked the 200th anniversary of the commencement of the Hellenic Revolution with banners in the area.

From Ms Roussos’ passion for Greek school and Greek dancing to Mr Tsounis’ work as former president and current Treasurer of the Mytilenian Brotherhood of Sydney and NSW and Secretary of the Pan-Lesvian Federation of Australia and New Zealand, Bayside’s Greek Australian candidates have been active in their community and speak of the value which their Greek heritage has brought to their lives.

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“My Greek heritage has influenced and shaped my life, my beliefs and the values I hold dearly today,” Ms Gerakis said. “These have made me the person I am – strong, independent, hardworking and honest. Growing up I was proud of my Greek heritage, everywhere I turned I was able to find Greek influence, whether it be in culture, history, medicine, language, education, politics, architecture and so on. This played a significant part in my motivation to make a difference in this world, no matter how small or large the contribution was.”

Ms Roussos, too, speaks of her Greek background playing a role in her community spirit. “After many years of volunteering for my community, for churches, local schools, local sports clubs, community organisations, Greek festivals, charities and assisting citizens I thought I would be able to assist more people if I was a councillor and issues could be actioned and this motivated me to become a candidate as I speak, read, write and understand fluent Greek. I am also a Justice Of The Peace where I serve my community,” she said.

Their reasons for joining are numerous. Ms Gerakis states that from a young age she found it “gratifying” to help people.

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“My mother also carries the same traits, and has played a huge role in shaping who I am today and the catalyst for the motivation in me running as a candidate. She would never accept me whinging and complaining and would always say ‘If you don’t like it, change it… Do something about it’. It became clear very early in my adult life that If I want to see change, I would have to be that change,” she said.

“I am now at a stage in my life where both my personal life and financial situation is in a good position, allowing me the time to be available to help my community. I have taken this exciting step to lead the charge in being the change, and if given a chance I will bring about a change in things I see lacking within Bayside.”

Vicky Roussos has always been community-minded and grew up learning the Greek language and traditions. Photo: Supplied

Ms Roussos’ points to the overdevelopment of her area as a key issue she wishes to address.

“The main issues in our Bayside area are overdevelopment issues, loud noises from speeding on our roads from certain individuals, fighting m5 east toll, parks, sports centre’s to be upgraded and refurbished, beachfront needing major improvements, to upgrade our very forgotten public libraries and there are many many more other issues that need to be addressed,” she said.

Mr Tsounis was approached by a local state member to participate in a local reference group to provide community feedback on the famous Cook Park of Botany Bay in 2006. His activity in the 8km stretch of beachfront and parkland hugging Botany Bay was the starting point for involvement in local government.

Andrew Tsounis has always been involved in his community. Photo: Supplied

“I became involved to be a voice for the community. At the time there were large developments that were not in the best interests of the community,” he said.

Ms Gerakis, too, wants to be a “voice”. “I am here to support and represent all races and cultures and be their voice. I will be available for them at any time and be that person they can trust and talk to about their community concerns. In fact, I want my entire community both young and old to feel comfortable talking to me about anything they like,” she said.


Bayside Council Theo Farasopoulos, Vicky Roussos, Constance Gerakis, Andrew Tsounis, Fotios
Koutsioukis, Ilias Tzortzis, Elizabeth Antonopoulos, Andrew Pandelis

Bogan Council Tony Elias

Brewarrina Council Angelo Pippos

Canada Bay Council Angelo Tsirekas

Canterbury-Bankstown Council Nicholas Hatzis, Tina Flaskas

Cowra Council Alexander Constantine Cozadinos

Cumberland City Council Steve Christou

Georges River Council Mary Cassimatis, Sandy Grekas , Christopher Tofalakis, Nick Katris, Sam Stratikopoulos, Michael Apokourastos, Nicholas Smerdely, Christina Jamieson,

Hunters Hill Council Alison Voulgaris

Inner West Council Julie Passas, Bill Passas, John Stamolis, Zoe Tsardoulias, Marika Kontellis, Melinda Dimitriades, Markela Panegyres

Kiama Council Anthony Varayiannis

Lismore Council Alexander Coronakes

Liverpool City Council Ellie Robertson (Kritsotakis)

Mid-Coast Council Phillip Costa

Mid-Western Council Alex Karavas, Andrew Andrews, Steven Houvardas, John Lepouris

Parramatta Council Nicholas Nikolaidis

Randwick City Council Anthony Andrews, Georgia Anastasopoulos, Harry Stavrinos, Angelina Stratigos, Alexandra Luxford

City of Ryde Council Antonia Courtelis

Snowy Monaro Council Olivier Kapetanakos

Strathfield Council Helen Apostle

Sutherland Council Haris Strangas

City of Sydney Council Philip Thalis, Angela Vithoulkas

Willoughby Council Angelo Rozos, Megan Louise Rozos, Marie Glykis, Andrew Anthony

Waverley Council Paula Masselos