Multicultural pioneer dies
20 July 2011
“I was deeply saddened to hear today of the death of Jim Samios, one of our true pioneers of multiculturalism,” Chair of the Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian said today.
“He was a gentleman politician who never allowed political considerations to impede his actions to meet community needs.
“Jim was there at the very beginning of public advocacy for the rights of and opportunities for migrants and maintained his enthusiasm until his death.
“He gave a great lead to the children of other migrants of his day – studying law, working in the Commonwealth Attorney Generals Department and serving for two years in Royal Australian Air Force.
“He was in every sense an Australian but an Australian with a rich cultural background which infused him with a passion to assist others who were searching to make their contribution to their adopted homeland.
“Jim’s political achievements were considerable although he rarely sought the limelight. As a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1984 to 2003 he was a parliamentary secretary from 1988 until 1995 dealing with ethnic and multicultural affairs. In that position he worked quietly to promote community harmony and was instrumental, behind the scenes, in the formulation of anti-vilification legislation.
“As a board member of the SBS he played a pivotal role in the development of ethnic radio and television.
“But it was his quiet demeanour and dogged determination that made Jim so effective as an important voice for the social and economic benefits of cultural diversity. We all owe him a debt of gratitude”, Mr Kerkyasharian said.