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.

Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell, delivered a scathing speech on the Turnbull Government’s proposed changes to Australian citizenship requirements. 

In her speech, she rejected calls that these changes were merely snobbery or elitism by the Government, she instead said they were a form of “blatant racism by a government that stands to do one thing and that is to divide the Australian community”.

Delivered in the House of Representatives Main Chamber on Thursday 10 August, she called the changes a “calculated and harsh hurdle” to citizenship for the new migrants and refugees to Australia.

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.

Local schools in the electorate of Calwell are set to lose millions of dollars in Federal funding over the next two years under the Turnbull Government’s school funding plan, according to a Victorian Education Department analysis.

Almost every school in Calwell, and certainly every public school, will receive significantly less funding in 2018 and 2019 under the Turnbull Government’s plans, compared to the original funding model agreed to by the previous Federal Labor Government and the states (the original ‘Gonski’ agreement).

Above: ALP Leader Bill Shorten MP with students from Our School of the Good Shepherd.

Nominations for the Victorian Young Achiever Awards are now open and we want our local young achievers of Calwell to be recognised! Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell, encourages all residents to nominate a local young person into the Victorian Young Achiever Awards.

"It’s important to recognise and reward our young Victorian achievers because it will encourage them to continue making such significant contributions to their local community,” said Ms Vamvakinou.

Grave concerns have been raised by the Broadmeadows community over a Government proposal that will see the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) facility on Camp Road, Broadmeadows, include a higher security compound.

Federal and State Members of Parliament, Local Government representatives and community members met at a roundtable discussion this week - facilitated by Maria Vamvakinou MP, Federal Member for Calwell.

Today in Broadmeadows, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, joined Maria Vamvakinou, Member for Calwell, and Julian Hill, Member for Bruce and member of the Australian Jobs Taskforce, at a local jobs forum to talk about job creation across the region.

Brendan O’Connor said key issues such as unemployment was significant across the region, and a key focus for the day was on jobs, education and training, penalty rates, and underemployment.

Above: Maria Vamvakinou MP speaks at the Calwell Jobs Forum with Julian Hill MP, and Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor.

Maria Vamvakinou, Member for Calwell says around 1300 local pensioners face significant cuts to their pension from New Year’s Day because of cuts made by the Turnbull Government and the Greens.

Around 980 Calwell pensioners will see an average cut to their pension of $119 a fortnight. A further 320 local pensioners will lose their pension entirely, leaving them on average worse off by $182 a fortnight.

“Many of my constituents will be celebrating Christmas with their children and grandchildren and will be relying on their pensions to help them,” says Vamvakinou.

“Not only does this cut to pensions hurt, but the timing is just plain cruel.”

Labor voted against this cut to pensioners in the Parliament, this is because Labor believes in a fair go for pensioners and will continue to fight for it.

Pensioners who are concerned about how the Government’s changes to the pension assets test will affect them are urged to contact Centrelink Financial Information Services on 132 300.

13 December, 2016