Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Greek-Australians outdo Australians but should we care?

In the 2006 Australian Census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.86% of respondents answered "Greek" when asked "what is the person's ancestry?”. Therefore, according to the recently released BRW (Business Review Weekly) Rich 200 table, Greeks are disproportionally represented amongst the wealthiest Australians. The Greek-Australian newspaper published in Melbourne, Neos Kosmos published a short article on this achievement which can be accessed here. Six Greeks made it into the top 200 rich list representing 3% of the group compared to a broader Greek population of 1.86%.

The Greeks in the list are involved in somewhat traditional Greek commercial pursuits such as property and development, pearling (Greeks from the Dodecanese were brought to Australia early in its history to fish for pearls), hotels and leisure; and less traditional pursuits such as mining and information technology.

These results are encouraging; however, how much of a Hellenic consciousness do these people have and how much do they actually bequeath to their community? Furthermore, how organized are Greek-Australian associations in receiving their donations and funneling them into causes which will enhance the Greek-Australian community such as teaching the Greek language and culture, aged care, health, Orthodoxy, media and the promotion of Hellenocentric positions regarding national issues such as Cyprus, the “Macedonian” name issue, northern Epirus and Turkish aggression in the Aegean and Thrace? Certainly, the self-defeating religious and political schisms that have bedeviled the Greek-Australian community do not help.

There is no point in feeling any sense of pride if the surplus wealth of these wealthy Greeks does not go back to their community.

Source: Neos Kosmos, ABS, Antipodes


  1. I agree, A, there's nothing to be proud if these wealthy Greeks don't give back to their communities.

    On the other hand, let's look at the Jewish people---both wealthy and poor---and how much they contribute to non-profit organisations (for both Jews and non-Jews, btw). There is not a major city in North America that does not have a world-renowned hosptital that was not founded by Jewish contributions! For example, my city Montreal: We have the Jewish General Hospital, where my Greek child was born. Ask me if we have a Greek General Hospital!