Labor Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos addressed the Victorian parliament in Greek this week, commending the Speak Greek in March project to fellow MPs.
Reflecting on the month-long campaign, Mr Dimopoulos took the opportunity to remind Victoria’s politicians that the Greek language – which has been in continuous use for over 4,000 years, is made up of around five million words.
Mindful of the limited time available to Legislative Assembly members in his slot on Wednesday evening – in a brief speech the Oakleigh MP chose 140 of those words to present the aims and achievements of the Speak Greek campaign.
Mr Dimopoulos spoke of Victoria’s “long and proud” association with the Greek community and how the language is being taught more widely across the state than ever before.
The MP said that a community’s embracing of its cultural heritage was of vital importance and that language played a central role in continuing an appreciation of cultural identity.
Mr Dimopoulos praised the work of former SBS general manager Mike Zafiropoulos in coordinating the Speak Greek in March campaign and spoke of the project’s future – beyond March 2015 – as a device for nurturing the language.
State Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott thanked Mr Dimopoulos for raising the matter. Responding to the MP’s request, Mr Scott proposed to meet with Mr Zafiropoulos and Mr Stefan Romaniw, the former head of Community Languages Australia, to discuss the Victorian government’s future actions in support of the Greek language.