Maria Vamvakinou, the Federal Member for Calwell, is the first Greek-born woman to be elected to the Parliament of Australia. Born on the small Greek island of Lefkada in 1959, Maria migrated by boat to Australia with her parents in 1963 who, like many post-war European families, were looking for a better life and greater opportunities. Maria grew up and was educated in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs and, as the child of working class migrant parents, Maria shares a lot with many local residents and families.
The Federal seat of Calwell, which is situated in Melbourne’s North-West, is a culturally diverse community, with the largest Muslim community in Victoria, and the third largest in Australia.
Maria was educated at Brunswick South Primary School and Princes Hill High School. Maria went on to attend the University of Melbourne where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Modern Greek and Political Science. Maria also holds a Diploma of Education from the University of Melbourne.
Maria is a trained secondary school teacher and spent most of her time as a teacher at Thornbury High School. Prior to entering Parliament, Maria worked for a number of Parliamentarians and Senators.
Maria is married to Dr. Michalis Michael and has two children, Stavros and Stella.
Maria has had extensive involvement in her local community and prior to entering Parliament, Maria was, amongst many other things, a Councillor on the Northcote City Council, as well as a volunteer radio journalist for 3ZZZ radio.
Maria is Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, and a member of the following Parliamentary Committee:
- Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Maria also co-convenes the Australian Parliamentary Friendship Groups for Multiculturalism and Palestine.