Addressing inequality and effecting positive change

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Tina Karanastasis is dedicated to addressing inequality and effecting positive change, particularly for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

When Tina’s parents arrived in South Australia in the 1950s, they not only experienced language and cultural barriers, but also injustices and racism.

Witnessing their struggles, Tina says, ‘I developed a strong interest in social justice and human rights and wanted to make things better for people like my parents, as well as those who came after them.’

At Flinders University, Tina (BA’79, DipAppPsych ’82) explored her interest in social justice and psychology with a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma in Applied Psychology.

‘I had a curious mind and Flinders enabled me to explore subjects that interested me and that would shape my thinking and view of the world,’ says Tina.

In 1982 Tina’s first job after graduating was with the newly established Migrant Resource Centre. She was tasked with developing programs and services that would improve access and participation for migrants and refugee new arrivals in the western suburbs of Adelaide.

Her work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities during this time became focused on supporting migrant women who were victims of domestic violence, vulnerable young people, the elderly, and those with a disability.

Tina went on to help establish several leading multicultural services in South Australia to provide critical support, linkages and advocacy for migrant communities, including Ethnic Link Services, Multicultural Youth SA, Migrant Women’s Emergency Support Service, Multicultural Respite and Dementia Service and MALSSA Disability Services.

In 1988 she was appointed Regional Coordinator for South Australia for the Commonwealth Office of Multicultural Affairs within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

‘The community consultations I conducted across the State informed the development of the National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia,’ says Tina. ‘I was also responsible for the implementation of the Australian Government’s Community Relations and Access and Equity Strategies in South Australia.’

Now as the Strategic Development Advisor, Aged and Community Care at UnitingSA’s Ethnic Link Services, Tina is focussing on addressing the inequalities experienced by older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This group comprise one third of Australians aged over 65, yet they continue to experience significant barriers in accessing and navigating aged care services.

Tina Karanastasis was awarded a 2018 Flinders University Distinguished Alumni Award for her significant contribution and dedication to the community, especially those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in South Australia.

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