Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Racist Australian Minister in Slur Probe for Referring to Macedonians as "Skopians"

By Richard Baker

John Pandazopoulos, the minister assisting Premier Steve Bracks in his multicultural affairs portfolio, is being investigated by the Equal Opportunity Commission over comments he made on SBS radio last year.

Mr Bracks yesterday confirmed the investigation at a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing at State Parliament.

Mr Pandazopoulos's use of the term "Skopian" to describe people from Macedonia on a Greek language program last November prompted a complaint from the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee, its chairman George Vlahov saying the term - derived from the city Skopje, the capital of Macedonia - was one of abuse used by Greeks to deny Macedonians their ethnicity.

Mr Bracks said he could not comment or say if the Government would pay the minister's legal fees. Mr Pandazopoulos's spokesman yesterday declined to comment.