Vamvakinou's gift of hope to new migrants

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. 

Ms Vamvakinou distributed the cards at her 2018 International Women’s Day event and gave a speech about the event in Federal Parliament on 28 March, 2018. The event was co-hosted with the Good Samaritan Primary School and Roxburgh Park Football Club due to the important work they do in the areas of settlement and creating harmonious communities in the electorate of Calwell.

The students and families of Meadows Primary School were also invited to write welcoming messages. The young students from this culturally diverse school filled the cards with colourful pictures of life in Australia. 

Mary Elizabeth Calwell, daughter of Australia’s first Immigration Minister Arthur Calwell, also wrote a message of hope. She wrote:

“My father welcomed hundreds of thousands of people after 1945 to Australia and millions have followed, so we welcome you to our great South Land.”

The exhibition The Gift acknowledges the role migrants have played in shaping the social, political and cultural fabric of Australian life. 

“This exhibition brings contentious issues back to the personal. It is telling from the responses in these cards that the hearts and minds of visitors have been opened by what they have experienced here in this space.” Says Daryl Karp, Director of MoAD.  

Ms Vamvakinou will formally hand the cards to MoAD on Tuesday 22 May. A selection of the gift cards will then be given to new Australian citizens at a citizenship ceremony later that day. 



For further information, interviews or photo opportunities, please contact:

Penni Pappas: Office of Maria Vamvakinou MP - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (03) 9367 5216 or 0416 481 626

Monica Glasgow: Museum of Australian Demoracy - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (02) 6270 8120 or 0416 249 522



Media are invited to attend the handover of the cards to MoAD at 8.30am on Tuesday 22 May 2018. The handover will take place in The Gift exhibition space at MoAD, Old Parliament House. 



• Maria Vamvakinou, MP, Federal Member for Calwell

• Daryl Karp, Director, Museum of Australian Demoracy

Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra