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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1736


Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (10:42): I recently had the honour and the privilege to speak at the ceremony to rename ECCQ House as Nick Xynias House. Nick Xynias AO BEM was a co-founder of the ECCQ, which is something that his family is very proud of and rightfully proud of. He was the honorary president and volunteer chief executive officer of the ECCQ—the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland—right up until his recent death. Like everyone in our community, I was greatly saddened for the loss that his family suffered and that the organisation suffered. I was honoured to attend the funeral that the Greek Orthodox community held a few weeks ago for Mr Xynias. It was a beautiful service and a really fitting tribute to someone who had contributed so much to the cause of multiculturalism and diversity in Queensland.

The ECCQ, which also includes the Berlasco Court nursing home and Diversicare, is an organisation that since its establishment in 1976 has contributed greatly to multiculturalism in Queensland. Part of its mission is to ensure that people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds can participate fully in our communities. As an example of that, my friend the member for Brisbane and I recently addressed the leadership course that ECCQ runs for people in the community of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who want to engage with politics, to be advocates and to be leaders. To be able to do that was a really wonderful opportunity. It shows just one example of the work that the ECCQ does in our community.

Nick's story in and of itself is a great example of the contribution of multiculturalism to our country. He was born to Greek parents in Egypt. He moved to Queensland in 1956 and was a very successfully businessman. On top of that, he and his wife Pat put a lot of work into building the cause of multiculturalism and community support in Queensland. I know that the chair of the ECCQ, Agnes Whitton OAM, deeply misses Nick and misses working with him. I saw her on Friday night at the dedication ceremony for the renaming of ECCQ House and expressed to her my condolences not just for the organisation's loss but also for the loss the entire committee suffered when they lost Nick. She said to me that Nick used to call her every morning. She said that she had received a call that morning, and she was so sad because, just for a second, she thought that maybe it was him, but then she remembered that he was gone. He helped so many people. He will be sorely missed, but his contribution to multiculturalism and to diversity in Queensland will live on for a very long time.