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Subject: Cultural Studies »

George Lekakis on the outcomes of Commission operations

George Lekakis.

Victorian Multicultural Commission chair George Lekakis discusses the outcomes of Commission operations



Date Added:

03 March 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

8.9 MB






The obligation to take out what the government does each year compels, in some way, administrators of departments and their relevant sections to think about: well what are we doing? Can we do it better? This is a requirement. Married with the notion that the premierís the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and our new premier has taken on that mantle, means that the obligation there is set by the highest office in government.


And the commitment therefore translates itself to actual outcomes: well what are we doing? And the challenge is how we do it right and whether the commission and others and the community can provide the right advice to translate those government actions into a reality that will receive it and reap the benefits.


The magic of it though is that we have a special component which involves Ė you can do all of this on paper and you can produce great reports, like they do in other jurisdictions, but Iíve married this notion of, Frierís (sp?) notion of dialogue and the relationship that dialogue has with empowering people which goes back to my initial training. That you have open public meetings, where there are no agendas, other that people coming and telling us whether itís working right or wrong. And I think thatís quite empowering of communities to know that they donít have to fear anybody, there is a government agency that can go out there and set up a public meeting and you can come and tell all whether the local whatever office or the local police office, or the local this office, is not doing a right Ė the right thing by the local community.


And therefore, I can, in a public space, make my claim or make my praise, or make a call for more resources, or say that those resources that have been provided to us through a particular program Ė maybe itís a neighbourhood renewal program, maybe itís a state government employment program, - is a good thing for us. Now the good/bad and whatever other commentary, positive or negative, can be made publicly and we record that and feed that back to the government.


Now I thought that was Ė that was a good outcome after five years and trialling it and seeing it work and seeing people and Ė well most importantly seeing ministers feel that there is, you know, look with my electorate, I go out and rave about how great our state is, well what are we doing? How can we make it better? And that creates a better environment for multicultural policy to have a special place in government affairs, rather than some notion that itís purely academic or some notion that is purely based on communities and their needs.


There is a polemic about it and we work together. And I think we have been able to combine all those things to bring this about.


End transcript