With interest growing in living in Australia, the country made citizens of more than 17,000 immigrants from 147 countries in several ceremonies which were held around the country, to celebrate Australian Day. The events were attended by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, several Ministers and Premiers from several states.
Gillard, who was born in Britain, noted Australia has added four million people to the naturalized citizens list since 1949, including many Greeks. In his speech, Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu, recalled that 40 years ago he had celebrated Australian Day in Athens. “Today, walking Melbourne streets is like walking Athens, due to the large number of the Greeks living in the city ” he said.
Australian Day was celebrated once again at Melbourne Harbor in the Festival of the Harbor, attended by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Nicholas Kotsiras and traditional Greek dancing groups.
Kotsiras said he remembers the night he arrived in the harbor in May of 1964, on a ship from Greece. He said he was impressed by the glowing stars in the sky. He is the first Greek-born Minister of the Liberal Party of Victoria.