The large Greek community in Australia has established itself as one of the most active and productive in the country’s multicultural society. With a presence in all walks of life, second and third generation Greeks occupy positions of influence in politics, business and arts. The latest example of an Australian of Greek background excelling in public life, is Demetra Clisaris. The 24-year-old made history in the state of Victoria, when she became the youngest politician to be elected Mayor of the city of Stonnington. The young Greek-Australian, whose roots are found on Euboea and Crete, says she is proud of her Greek heritage. “I loved Greece from the first moment I went there with my parents. I admire its history, and love its culture and civilisation. As far as the first generation Greeks, I have a deep respect and appreciation for what they have accomplished in the country”, says Demetra. Stonnington is home to 110,000 citizens and includes 8 areas of the eastern Victoria district. Politics runs in the the family, as her father, Paul Clisaris got involved in public affairs as Mayor of Monash and ran as a Labour party candidate in the recent national elections. Demetra says she feels she got into politics at an early age. “I was impressed how demanding his (here father) role was, but at the same time how rewarding it was. How much difference it made to people’s lives who had entrusted their votes to him”, the youngest Mayor in Victoria says. Demetra says she had already decided she would get involved in public matters at the age of 17 and two years later she voted on the council of her city. Now leading the city council, the new Mayor says she wants to make incisive changes in as many areas she possibly can. “The areas of the municipality is the most sought-after by investors and construction companies. It requires dynamism, alertness and constant effort to avoid rocking the balance between growth and the environment”, she says.
Meet Demetra Clisaris