Dimopoulos – Victoria’s first Greek Australian minister for creative industries

(L-R) Tim Richardson, Tim Pallas, Steve Dimopoulos, Jackson Taylor and Chris Brayne arrive at Parliament House in Melbourne, Saturday, June 25, 2022. Photo: AAP/Diego Fedele

Jacinta Allan was voted unopposed as new deputy premier in Saturday’s Labor caucus meeting. The vote followed the early retirement of five of Dan Andrews’ key ministers, deputy premier, James Merlino, health minister Martin Foley, police minister Lisa Neville and sports minister Martin Pakula

The member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos is the new minister for tourism, sport and major events and minister for creative industries. It is the first time that a Greek Australian will be the minister for the arts.

The new minister said he intends to “give 110 per cent to make sure we can do even more on behalf of those who put us here, the people of Victoria”.

After the caucus meeting he thanked his colleagues and his electorate of Oakleigh. He paid tribute to those leaving the cabinet, who he said were some of hardest working “and inspiring people I have seen in public life.””They lived their values every single day and made made change happen,” said Mr Dimopoulos.

The new minister went on to thank his partner and family.

“I thank my partner John and my family who have been steadfast in their support. My parents, Nick and Helen are migrants from Greece who came to this country with little but created a bright future for myself and my sister Mary and now their grandchildren,”Mr Dimopoulos said to Neos Kosmos.

He said that his parents left “a homeland that they love to seek a better future.”

“This is their story – but it is also the broader story of migration to this country, the home of multiculturalism. As an Australian with Greek heritage I am honoured to play a small role in representing the diversity that is modern Australia,” Mr Dimopoulos said.

The other new ministers are:

– Member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorn will become the Minister for Planning and also take on responsibility for government business in the Legislative Assembly as Leader of the House.

– Member for Bundoora and former Speaker Colin Brooks will be Minister for Child Protection and Family Services and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers.

– Member for Carrum Sonya Kilkenny will be Minister for Corrections, Minister for Youth Justice, Minister for Victim Support and Minister for Fishing and Boating.

– Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing becomes Minister for Water, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Equality.

Nina Taylor representing Southern Metropolitan Region has been given the post of parliamentary secretary for health. In a tweet on Saturday night, the premier Dan Andrews informed the Ms Taylor of the role. In the tweet Ms Taylor said that it will be “a great pleasure to report to the new Minister for Health Mary Anne Thomas MP.”

According to a statement released by the Victorian government the new appointments “bring the number of women in the Victorian Cabinet to 14 – more than any other Australian jurisdiction – with three of the four parliamentary leadership positions also filled by women.”

The statement said that “as the most experienced Minister in the Cabinet, Jacinta Allan will add overseeing Commonwealth Games Delivery to her responsibilities.”

Eight years in government and two difficult years of dealing with the COVID pandemic wore out the five outgoing ministers according to a Labor source who remained anonymous.

“There was no factional war, it was simply fatigue,” the source said to Neos Kosmos.

Another Labor source who spoke to Neos Kosmos again on anonymity said, “James [Merlino] has hardly seen his kids and they’re at uni now, Lisa [Neville] is not well and needs to rest.” Ms Neville it has been reported suffers from Crohn’s disease.”I don’t think you could have any more demanding portfolios than health, police, education and sport, during the last two years of COVID and lockdowns, and they did well,” this source said to Neos Kosmos.