Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Nick Staikos was born and raised in East Bentleigh. He attended school there, was baptised at the local Greek Orthodox church and has always been heavily involved with the Greek and non-Greek communities in the area.His mother immigrated to Australia from the Aegean island of Samos in the 1960s, whilst his father came from the mainland town of Nafpaktos in the 1970s. When Staikos was 19 he was elected to the Glen Eira Council, where his life as an elected official commenced. For Staikos, his community and values are two very important elements he holds when campaigning for the seat of Bentleigh. “I’ve always been active in my local community and for me community activism and politics goes hand in hand. I have strong Labor values. Values of a fair go, strong Labor values of public education, public health – the things that are often taken for granted, but that Labor fought hard over many years to achieve,” he says. And his Greek heritage is something that he is proud of. He believes that a connection between Greek Australians and the Australian Labor Party was established from the early days of Greek migration to Australia, especially when Gough Whitlam was the prime minister of the country.“I think Greeks have a lot of respect for Gough Whitlam. Certainly my grandfather used to call Gough Whitlam o levendis. His grandfather was proud that Gough Whitlam was prime minister of this country because he was not just a leader for Anglo-Australians, he was very much a prime minister for new Australians as well. “So I’ve always held those strong Labor values from my family,” says Nick Staikos.Despite trends that suggest second and third generation Greek Australians are moving beyond traditional Labor means of voting, he argues that the party continues to be one for them. “We must never forget where we came from. We must consider what sort of society we want to be a part of, and in my view that is a society that looks after people that need to be looked after, that treats education and health as fundamental human rights regardless of your ability to pay. That is certainly a society I want to be a part of.”His own policies centre on health, education and public transport. “The last four years of the Baillieu and Napthine government have been a disaster for Victoria. These four years have seen the government break its promise for 800 new beds in our hospital system.”“The other thing they have done is halve the funding to schools, the funding to rebuild schools, which has meant that those schools which are ageing and need to be rebuilt are not being rebuilt. They’ve cut $300 million from our taxes which means that young people are finding it harder to get the training they need to get a decent job. “And another thing that they are doing now is that they have a rail plan which is disastrous for Bentleigh because it means you won’t be able to catch a train at any station on the Frankston line, including Bentleigh to Flinders Street.”Staikos is of the opinion that the November 29 election is an opportunity for Victorians to pressure the Federal Abbott Government into rethinking some of its policies, particularly its budget measures in May.“One of the most important things is this – Denis Napthine is the number one supporter of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. They’re both Liberal and Tony Abbott is a prime minister who is cutting pensions and is imposing a $7 GP tax. “Now we need a premier of Victoria that will stand up to Tony Abbott – that is not Denis Napthine, they’re mates. In my view the Premier of Victoria that will stand up to Tony Abbott is Daniel Andrews.“We’re going to take the fight up to him on all of these issues – when it comes to pensions, when it comes to students. Just today (Thursday) Daniel Andrews has announced that a Victorian Labor Government will introduce laws to overcome the watering down of the anti-racial discrimination laws that the Abbott government is introducing.”The seat of Bentleigh was won by the now State Liberal MP Elizabeth Miller by less than a one per cent margin, and that is something that Staikos is not taking lightly. “I think it will be a tight race because Bentleigh is one of those seats where it is usually a tight race. I don’t take anything for granted, I will be chasing after every last vote, I will be trying to earn the trust of every resident of the Bentleigh electorate, so I don’t take anything for granted.”He opts to combine traditional and contemporary measures to broadcast his messages throughout his election campaign. He believes that there is not one method “that works in isolation”, rather it is built on different methods that include door knocking, talking to his constituents on the streets and convening street stalls, and also using social media. But he warned that unless there is a worthy message with a strong policy layout involved, something he is confident he has achieved, then campaigning becomes completely ineffective.