Labor does not support the Coalition Government's cruel cuts that will hurt pensioners, especially migrant pensioners.

This Government wants to punish them and rip over $185 million from the pockets of Australian pensioners. It wants to do this by increasing the pension residency period from 10-15 years, and cutting the pension supplement after six weeks overseas.

We strongly condemn the motion put to the Senate by Senator Pauline Hanson and the decision by 23 government Senators to vote with One Nation to support it.

It is not OK to affirm white supremacist slogans in the Australian Senate. It is not OK for 23 members of the Morrison government to endorse white supremacism in the Australian Parliament.

This motion should have been defeated easily. Instead, 23 members of the Coalition government voted for it. Not only did 23 government Senators vote in favour of the motion – senior members of the government have backed it in since yesterday afternoon.

If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will invest $2 million in a cyber security training centre at the Kangan Institute, Broadmeadows TAFE, to meet the needs of Victoria’s rapidly expanding digital technology industries. The Victorian ICT industry employs about 85,000 people and is expected to grow sharply in the short to medium term.

This $2 million investment will include upgrades to teaching labs and the installation of computer hardware. Cyber security has been identified as having a critical skills shortage. At present, TAFE’s offering the Certificate IV are at capacity and unable to take additional enrolments.

Messages of hope to Australia’s future migrants and refugees have been written by Calwell’s newest migrants and students in gift cards from the Museum of Australian Democracy’s (MoAD) latest exhibition The Gift: Art, Artefacts & Arrivals.

Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell, distributed these cards to people within her electorate who have first-hand felt the impact of humanitarian immigration to Australia. 

“These cards signify hope and give strength to our future Australians, while at the same time giving our newest Australians a powerful voice,” says Ms Vamvakinou MP. 

ABOVE: Mary Elizabeth Calwell, daughter of Australia's first Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell, and Maria Vamvakinou MP write their message of hope for Australia's newest migrants. 

A Shorten Labor Government will invest an extra $8 million in community language schools so more Calwell children get the chance to learn other languages.

Currently, community language schools teach mostly school age kids.  But the younger someone starts learning another language, the easier it is to pick up.  That’s why we’ll help more community language schools open up their classes to pre-schoolers as well as school age children. 

In Calwell, we do things that make sense to our community. And this year's International Women's Day is no different. In 2018, I will be co-hosting a morning tea with the Good Samaritan Primary School and Roxburgh Park Football Club which will celebrate the newly arrived migrants and refugee women who have settled in the area; pay tribute to the migrant women who have mentored the women into the community and recognise the tireless efforts of community workers in welcoming these women and their families to their new home. 

It will be a celebration of the cultural diversity of women in Calwell.

I've chosen to co-host the morning tea with the school and football club due to the important work they both do in the areas of settlement and creating harmonious communities in the electorate of Calwell, and in turn in creating a safe, happy and healthy Victoria.

More Paralympic athletes will be given the opportunity to train at Essendon Football Club’s world-class home base, The Hangar, with a Shorten Labor Government to invest $4 million to support the expansion of disability sport programs. The Essendon Football Club has established a successful partnership with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC), enabling Paralympic athletes to use the facilities throughout the year.

Labor’s investment will strengthen this partnership with the construction of wheelchair-accessible dormitory accommodation, improving access to facilities at The Hangar for athletes with disabilities, reducing APC program operating costs and providing new opportunities for disability sport participation, and talent identification activities. 

Today, 61.6 per cent of Australians voted in favour of marriage equality; today Australians by and large voted for people’s rights and equality.

I will join the broader Australian community and vote in favour of marriage equality in the Federal Parliament. 

A large number of people in my electorate do not support same-sex marriage and voted ‘no’ in the same-sex marriage postal survey - and that is their right.

I respect and understand the rights and views of the people in my electorate - there is nothing more Australian than having the right to a view and the right to express that view.

In Calwell, I have established communities and newly arrived communities - communities whose values and practices are largely affected by their faith.

My interest as the Federal Member for Calwell is to ensure at this time we have a process of dialogue and healing, and coming together in the community.

Now is a time for respectful reconciliation. It is not a time for blame and recrimination.