20 Questions with Photius Orfanidis


The Australian Greens’ newly elected National Deputy Secretary Photius Orfanidis gives us a glimpse into what makes him tick, including why he’s so committed to the Greens.

1. What do you remember about your first election?  

Oh, my first election. Fond memories of battling my desire for more sleep as I'd been awake for the past 48 hours straight – and that pesky desire most young people have, to go back to bed and not vote at all.

Yet that morning, something within me sparked an innate desire to have my voice heard, and from that day on I've gotten up every morning ensuring that I, in turn, truly hear every member's voice.

2. Endangered Australian animal that's captured your heart?

The beautiful Eltham Copper Butterfly, given its name for the unique bright copper colour of its wings. This butterfly is from my hometown and was first discovered in 1938.

Yet little more than 20 years later the copper butterfly was thought to be extinct. The butterfly's resilience was demonstrated following its rediscovery in the late 80s, and my local community had banded together to ensure the butterfly's survival.

This beautiful butterfly was a beacon of hope for my community and as such it has captured my heart all these years later.

3. What’s your precious place and why? 

Tiny little beach in Blairgowrie where I used to go as a kid. The worst kind of sand imaginable and it would cut my feet up with every step, but the water was absolutely beautiful and worth all the pain it took to get there.

4. Favourite Greens policy?

I love every single one of them. Picking only one would be like choosing a favourite child. It's an impossible choice!

5. Best part of your work with the Greens?

The immense privilege of working with such amazing and dedicated people every day, to ensure that the world is in a better state when we leave it than when we entered it.

6. What keeps you going?

Knowing that what I am doing is right.

7. Favourite political song? 

‘Solid Rock’ by Shane Howard.

8. Who inspires you? Why?

All of our wonderful and dedicated volunteers who get up every day and assist in any way they can, to make sure that our future is bright.

9. Comfort food?

Dumplings. All the dumplings.

10. What would you spend $20 billion on? 

Building an electric rail service between Melbourne Airport and our CBD.

11. Secret vice?

Unfortunately, none of my vices are secret.

12. Best coffee/drink in town? 

A whiskey old fashioned at Eau De Vie in Melbourne. I'm salivating just thinking about it now…

13. Three apps you can’t live without?

Because I am boring and need them to effectively do my job and live my life: Mail, Messages and Phone.

14. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to be a lawyer but as I grew older I just settled on happy.

15. Morning run or night time swim?

Night time swim. There's nothing quite like floating in silence and looking up at the starry night sky. It's pure bliss.

16. What’s your greatest hope for the future?

That we as a global society take drastic steps towards truly addressing climate change – before it's irreversible.

17. Magic wand to solve one world problem — what would it be?

Equality for all.

18. What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Find your Greens community and join them. You can do this in heaps of different ways and if you ever feel lost at any point, just reach out to us.

Any member or office bearer, whether it be within your branch, in your state or nationally, would be more than happy to point you in the right direction. So if you're feeling a tad lost, reach out to me!

19. You can travel through time – where do you go?

I don't mess with time travel. Not making that mistake again… ⌛️

20. If you weren’t doing this for a living, what would you be doing?

I'd probably do something animal related, maybe a vet. I love animals way too much. Just ask my dog Harley... he's an absolute princess!

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