The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is proud to bring you this exclusive interview with UMD Macedonian Companion Dame Krcoski running for Western Australian Parliament for the seat of Girrawheen. UMD is encouraged to see more Australians of Macedonian heritage seeking public office and being positive role models for our Australian-Macedonian community.
Dame Krcoski is a father, small business owner and proud local. Dame is the co-owner and Manager of 103.3 Mac FM, a radio station catering to Perth’s 15,000 residents of Macedonian ancestry.
In the late 1990s during some of his high school years, Dame lived in Girrawheen together with his parents and two brothers. From 2001, he and his family lived in Marangaroo, and since 2009, he has resided in Madeley together with his wife Ivona where they started a family and now have two children Leo and Alexandra. As such, Dame takes pride in the fact that he can consider himself a true local to the district of Girrawheen.
In 2006, Dame graduated from Edith Cowan University acquiring a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Politics/Government and History and a minor in Geography. In 2009, Dame became co-owner and manager of Macedonian language radio station 103.3 Mac FM, which covers most of the Perth Metropolitan area and has tens of thousands of listeners not only of Macedonian but also Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian ancestry.
Dame has organised dozens of cultural events and humanitarian fundraisers over the past seven years through his work with 103.3 Mac FM and the ‘United Macedonian Diaspora’ (UMD), which is based out of Washington D.C for which Dame was a board of director’s member, from its Australian branch. Thus he is very well known and respected amongst his community in Perth, and around Australia.
Dame was until recently also employed as an electorate officer for former Federal Member for Cowan, Mr. Luke Simpkins – the first Australian recipient of the UMD Macedonia Friendship Award.
During the over three years in which he worked for Mr. Simpkins, Dame had the opportunity to meet, speak and communicate with thousands of constituents in person, via phone or email. This enabled him to understand the concerns of locals, but more so it also provided him with the experience in facilitating and addressing the issues, which matter most to the Australian public.
In conclusion, his personal and professional background leaves Dame well placed to understand the issues that the residents of Girrawheen and its surrounds face, as he is a local from the people, for the people.
Enjoy the interview with Dame below:
UMD: If elected to Western Australia’s Parliament what new ideas do you think you can bring to your local community and its development?
Dame: Should I be elected to Parliament I would represent the district of Girrawheen, which incorporates the northern Perth suburbs of Girrawheen, Marangaroo, Madeley, Darch and Landsdale. There are a number of ideas and initiatives, which I intend to embark on. However, each of the five suburbs have specific issues, which need to be addressed. The suburb of Girrawheen is a number of decades old and is the oldest suburb in the electorate. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in Western Australia, so this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The suburb of Marangaroo was predominantly established in the 1980s as a middle class suburb, whereas Madeley, Darch and Landsdale are new suburbs, which barely had any residents 15 years ago. Hooning is a problem which locals often raise, I will advocate for more CCTV cameras and where possible, to modify some suburban roads which could act as a deterrent to reckless driving. In terms of new ideas, rather than its residents having to drive ten or twenty minutes to see a movie, or to go out on a Saturday night for a coffee, or visit a restaurant on a Sunday for lunch, I will work towards bringing more of these amenities to the district of Girrawheen.
UMD: What differentiates you from others running and those who have been members of Parliament in the past?
Dame: Just as my campaign motto says, I am a local from the people, for the people. Not many Politicians reside in their electorates, and while I am touching on this subject let me note that should I be elected to Parliament, one of the first matters which I will raise in Parliament is why is it allowed for somebody who lives on the other side of the city, to nominate for a district they know nothing about. How can you truly ‘represent’ the local constituents, if you are foreign to their locality?! My first job out of high school was working in a supermarket in the suburb of Girrawheen. I have lived in Girrawheen, Marangaroo and now Madeley for almost two decades. I believe the incumbent, who represents the district of Girrawheen, does not even live there although she has represented the district for over a decade and a half in the Western Australian Parliament.
UMD: What does your Macedonian heritage mean to you? What advice would you give to the younger generation?
Dame: My Macedonian heritage is part of who I am; I was born in Macedonia and was raised to be proud of my identity, which has been denied by so many. However, I was also raised by my parents to embrace this beautiful country Australia as my own, which I have done because Australia is a multicultural nation, which rewards loyalty and provides limitless opportunities to those who dare to dream, regardless of their background. My advice to the younger generation is that in order to be heard, they need to be the ‘checks and balances’ in society by taking an active interest in politics, or by supporting those who they can trust, in becoming their voice in the Government institutions.
UMD: What was the biggest lesson you learned from your parents, and as a father yourself, what lessons are you passing on to your own children?
Dame: Nobody has ever asked me this question before, and I thank you for being the first to do so. The biggest lesson I learned from my parents is to always be kind to people, to be happy for other people’s success and to never envy anybody but to believe that I too can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it. My children are still little, Leo is 4 and Alexandra is 2, but as they grow I will teach them to cherish their Macedonian culture while also embracing the country of their birth, Australia. However, most importantly, I will educate them to be accepting of others and treat people as they would like to be treated, with respect.
UMD: Unlike many who run for office, you worked for a federal MP Luke Simpkins and learned firsthand about community outreach and engagement. Can you tell us a little about this experience?
Dame: Working for Luke Simpkins provided me with the knowledge and experience one needs in order to run for public office. However, most of all, Luke Simpkins made me realise that not all politicians are detached from society as is often the perception about them. Luke is a very approachable person who as a Member of the Federal Parliament, spent most of his time in and around the community with constituents, speaking to locals and addressing their concerns, and not sitting behind a desk like some of his colleagues. It was an honour to have worked for such a great person.
UMD: You are a co-owner and a manager of a successful radio station. How can you best put your business skills to use in Parliament?
Dame: My work with 103.3 Mac FM has provided me with the people skills, negotiation and teamwork experience needed in engaging with other members of Parliament. Mac FM enabled me to become a leader in interacting with a particular demographic, in this case the Macedonian community, and nurturing its cultural heritage through music and events. Should I be elected to the Western Australian Parliament, I will use that experience by interacting with the constituents of Girrawheen district through listening to their concerns and being their voice in Parliament.
UMD: You served as UMD’s first representative in Perth and also later on as a Board Member, and had an opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. for the 3rd UMD Global Conference. What did you think? How important is it for Australian-Macedonians to get involved?
Dame: Extremely important, it is a necessity. There are over 190 ethnic communities in Australia. Macedonians are the ninth largest with about 100,000 Australians identifying their ancestry as Macedonian. However, when we compare this to other communities with a similar number, we find that Macedonian Australians are significantly underrepresented in public office. I believe I am the first Macedonian to be endorsed as a candidate for the WA Parliament by any Party. In regards to my visit to Washington D.C in 2011, the most positive experience, which I took back from that was our visit to Congress and seeing firsthand the hard work that UMD does in promoting Macedonia in a positive light in the United States.