Maria Vamvakinou MP Profile

Maria Vamvakinou is the first Greek-born woman to be elected to the Parliament of Australia. Born on the island of Lefkada Greece, in 1959, Maria migrated to Australia with her family in 1963 as part of the Arthur Calwell Assisted migration policy.

Maria grew up and was educated in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs and - as the child of working class migrant parents - developed a strong sense of social justice early on.

Maria was educated at Brunswick South Primary School and Princes Hill High School. She then 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 and from there worked as a high school teacher before entering politics as an electorate officer in 1988 for Dr Andrew Theophanous.

Having worked under the Hon Joan Kirner, the Hon Andrew McCutcheon and Senator Kim Carr, Maria was preselected for the seat of Calwell in 2000 and won the 2001 Federal Election and was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives for the first time.

Since then she has been Calwell’s elected Federal Member of Parliament for six consecutive terms winning the 2004; 2007; 2011; 2013 and 2016 Federal elections.

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 has the largest intake of refugees in Victoria as part of the Special Humanitarian Program. Maria works closely with her constituency to advocate on issues such as immigration; employment; healthcare and education in Federal Parliament.

Maria is the Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration, and is also member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade – which includes the Human Rights Sub-committee.

Maria is the co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends of SBS; Multiculturalism – which hosts the largest interfaith dialogue at Parliament House each year; the Heart and Stroke Foundations and Palestine.