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MESSAGE FROM THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER (in Greek)
80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF CRETE
It has been said “we cannot live in the past, the past lives in us”. As the world faces a once-in-a-century pandemic, this is a time when the Greek people can draw strength from their rich history.
This past month has marked the bicentenary of the Greek War of Independence –– a bicentenary that we recognised in our Australian Parliament, as well as recognised the contribution of Australians with Greek heritage to our national life.
Today, you commemorate another significant anniversary –– the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
Australians remember that battle and those times. We too draw strength from the courage, determination and example of those who have done so much for the cause of freedom.
As the last Royal Navy vessels evacuated troops from Crete on 1 June 1941, those Allied troops who remained bowed their heads in sorrow. But, in their despair, they cleaved to two certainties –– the rightness of their cause; and the generosity, courage, and loyalty of the men and women of Crete.
They placed their trust in the brave and stoic Cretans who fought alongside them in the bloody conflict of the preceding 12 days.
In the aftermath of a battle fought with honour, and conceded without disgrace, a deep friendship was forged. The record of the days and weeks that followed is a chapter of bravery and selflessness that has bound Australia to Crete ever after.
In villages and farms, on beaches and in caves, the people of Crete –– who had so little of their own –– fed and nursed, sheltered, and led to safety those Allied troops who were left behind. Their selflessness and courage saved lives and inspired others to resist the invading forces.
Since the end of the Second World War, Australian veterans and their descendants have travelled to Greece each year for this anniversary. To join with the living and honour the dead who rest in peace at Suda Bay.
In 2021, those reunions are out of reach. But, the painful separation of a global pandemic has endowed togetherness with new meaning. The strength of our friendship is not bound by time or distance.
In the theatre of war, the people of Greece and Australia were united in a quest for peace. As they confronted tyranny together, they upheld the principals of justice and liberty so beloved by both our nations.
On this anniversary, we reflect on the spirit of sacrifice and shared humanity enacted on Crete in 1941. We rejoice in our enduring friendship, nurtured by ties of blood and fostered by mutual respect. As we stood together in war, so we stand together in peace – our eyes fixed firmly on a future shaped by the valour of the past.
The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia, April 2021
BATTLE OF CRETE COMMEMORATIONS - CRETE, 15-24 MAY 2021
From 15 to 24 May 2021, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Crete will be marked with a series of commemorative services and events in Rethymno and Chania organised by the local authorities in Crete. The Australian Embassy will be there to pay tribute to the Australian service men and women who helped defend Crete during WWII and to honour the bonds of friendship between Australians and Greeks that were forged in the cauldron of war. While the events will be held in a COVID-wise format and attendees will be required to practice physical distancing, large gatherings still present a risk. We therefore encourage Australians in Greece who wish to mark the Battle of Crete to do so safely.
See the program of events here.
Photo credit: Australian and other Empire troops evacuated from mainland Greece arrive at Souda Bay, Crete, some with their kits, in April 1941. They were lucky, as most landed without, for kits had to be abandoned or destroyed in many cases. (Australian War Memorial 008172; photographer George Silk)
International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia – Joint Statement by Embassies in Romania
The Australian Embassy proudly joins in with Embassies in Romania in declaring its support for LGBTIQ persons. Read the Joint Statement on the occasion of the IDAHOBIT Day: International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia*
Bucharest, 17 May 2021 - On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, we express our solidarity with all persons who are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics.
LGBTIQ persons and families continue to face discrimination, violence and stigmatization all around the world. Our countries seek to combat such discrimination by promoting equal human rights for everyone. This respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms obliges governments to protect all citizens from violence and discrimination and to ensure that all people enjoy equal treatment and equal opportunities.
Protecting the welfare of LGBTIQ persons and families is key to ensuring that the full human rights of all our citizens are protected. We believe that only when the diversity of its citizens is appreciated, supported and protected can a country achieve its full potential.
The current COVID-19 pandemic does not allow groups or individuals to gather for festivals and marches, but we reaffirm on this day our full support for the peaceful fight for the cessation of all forms of discrimination and violence, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics.
* The joint statement is issued by the embassies of: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and the European Commission Representation in Romania.
Declarație comună cu ocazia Zilei internaționale împotriva Homofobiei, Bifobiei și Transfobiei *
București, 17 mai 2021 - Cu ocazia Zilei Internaționale împotriva Homofobiei, Bifobiei și Transfobiei, ne exprimăm solidaritatea cu toate persoanele discriminate pe criterii de orientarea sexuală, identității sau expresiei de gen și caracteristicilor sexuale.
Persoanele și familiile LGBTIQ se confruntă în continuare cu acte de discriminare, violență și stigmatizare în întreaga lume. Țările noastre încearcă să combată astfel de acte prin promovarea drepturilor omului pentru toată lumea. Respectul pentru drepturile omului pentru libertățile fundamentale obligă guvernele să protejeze toți cetățenii de violență și discriminare și să se asigure că toți oamenii se bucură de tratament și de șanse egale.
Protejarea bunăstării persoanelor și familiilor LGBTIQ este esențială pentru asigurarea protejării drepturilor omului ale tuturor cetățenilor noștri. Avem convingerea că o țară poate să-ṣi atingă întregul potențial numai atunci când diversitatea cetățenilor este apreciată, susținută și protejată.
Actuala pandemie COVID-19 nu permite grupurilor sau persoanelor să participe la festivaluri și marșuri, însă ne reafirmăm în această zi susținerea deplină pentru lupta pașnică în vederea încetării tuturor formelor de discriminare și violență, inclusiv pe criterii de orientare sexuală , identitate sau expresie de gen și caracteristici sexuale.
* Declarația comună este semnată de următoarele ambasadele şi reprezentanțe ale unor instituții internaționale: Australia, Austria, Belgia, Canada, Croația, Cehia, Danemarca, Elveția, Finlanda, Franța, Germania, Irlanda, Israel, Italia, Luxemburg, Marea Britanie, Norvegia, Noua Zeelandă, Olanda, Portugalia, Slovenia, Spania, Suedia, Statele Unite, Uruguay și Reprezentanța Comisiei Europene în România.
Greek Independence Day 2021
- Message from the Governor-General on Greek Independence Day 2021
- Message from the Prime Minister on Greek Independence Day 2021 (in English)
- Message from the Prime Minister on Greek Independence Day 2021 (in Greek)
- Message from the Immigration Minister on Greek Independence Day 2021
ANZAC DAY Commemorations 2020
The Australian Embassy in Athens would like to inform Australians, New Zealanders and friends of both countries in Greece that, this year, it will not hold the public annual Anzac Day Commemorative Service at the Phaleron Cemetery on 25 April. Ambassador Arthur Spyrou will attend the Phaleron Cemetery by himself to lay a wreath in honour of the service and sacrifice of the original Anzacs, and all our servicemen and women, who have served and offered their lives in conflicts.
The Embassy has taken this decision in accordance with the relevant regulations and advice issued by the Greek Government to contain the spread of COVID-19. We all have a role to play in the response to this pandemic.
While there will be no public Anzac Day Commemorative Service with official guests or any member of the public at the Phaleron Cemetery, the Embassy encourages members of the public who wish to mark Anzac Day to do so from home and to watch the Service at the Australian War Memorial. That Service will be live streamed online starting at 22.00 pm on 24 April (5.00 am AEST on 25 April). For further information on the live streaming please refer to the Australian War Memorial website (www.awm.gov.au/AnzacAtHome).
The Anzac Day Commemorations organised annually by the Regional Unit of Lemnos on the island of Lemnos, forward base of the Allies during the Gallipoli campaign, have also been cancelled. For further information please refer to the Regional Unit of Lemnos (www.lemnos.gr).
Public health and safety are our priority. We hope this pandemic is quickly over, so that we can all commemorate Anzac Day together in 2021.
Lest We Forget.
Speech and presentation on Australia’s approach to cervical cancer by the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Andrea Biggi, at an awareness event held by the Hellenic Oncology Foundation on Thursday, 14 February 2019