The Greek community of New South Wales has expressed its concern in regards to the statements of a Greek Golden Dawn MP. Ilias Panagiotaros was interviewed on Channel 9’s Sixty Minutes show, and he admitted that Golden Dawn has managed to establish branches both in Sydney and in Melbourne.
During his interview, Panagiotaros mentioned that the far-right political party is currently third largest political force in Greece. Golden Dawn aims to “remove all immigrants” from the country.
Following his statements, the Hellenic Council of Australia released a statement that stressed: “The Australian Hellenic Council NSW Inc. views with alarm reports that the ultra-right wing Golden Dawn party in Greece claims to have opened branches in Sydney and Melbourne, according to a story aired on the Channel Nine program, 60 Minutes, on April 13 2014.
“At a time when we are calling on the Federal Government to abandon its ill-considered changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, the Hellenic community in Australia faces the prospect of importing elements of a brutal and overtly racist ideology that has taken racism to a new level in Greece by blaming that country’s current economic and social woes on immigrants and everyone else who does not fit Golden Dawn’s self-conceived image of the so-called Greek nationalist.”
Greece has had to endure a political movement that comes replete with thuggish supporters burning torches, stiff-arm salutes, bashing helpless victims and a dangerous brand of demagogue rhetoric that has its clearly-defined origins in Nazi Germany. A prominent member of Golden Dawn proudly and unashamedly proclaimed last year in relation to immigrants in Greece that “we are ready to open the ovens. We will turn them into soap … to wash cars and pavements. We will make lamps from their skin.”
George Vellis, president of the Hellenic Council in NSW said: “If supporters of Golden Dawn surface in Australia and utter obscene, bigoted and offensive words on a website or at a public gathering, they would be afforded protection under the proposed legislation on the basis that they would undoubtedly argue that it was in the course of participating in a public discussion about the effects of illegal immigration. There can be no place in Australia for such zealotry.”