I am so fortunate to have the very talented young sportswoman - and  Local Sporting Champions grant recipient - Monique Conti in my electorate.

Monique is just 18 years old, but she has already reached the elite levels of not one but two sports.  A month ago, Monique played in her debut game for the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League’s Women’s competition, and she put in a terrific performance too.  And just before that, she played in a Women’s National Basketball League grand final for the Melbourne Boomers.

Above: Monique Conti.

Calwell's multicultural champions were honoured last night at the 2017 Multicultural Awards for Excellence held at Government House. 

I was so proud to stand by my community and see their hard-work and commitment in creating social cohesion in Calwell recognised by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. 

Ajit Singh Chauhan (pictured below) received the Award for Meritorious Service to the Community for his work with disadvantaged youth from diverse cultural backgrounds particularly in his roles at Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and the Hume Interfaith Network youth program.

Two friends Yalcin Adal and Stavros Protz visited Parliament House to meet with Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament to promote Journey into Cyprus - their 16 day walk in March for a free and united Cyprus. The journey is inspired by the idea of a united Cyprus, one wherein the conflict between the Turkish North and the Greek South of the Island has come to an end.

They first met Mr Anthony Albanese MP, Vice-Chair of the Australia - Cyprus Parliamentary Friends Group and myself; Mr Albanese was very supportive of the Journey into Cyprus walk, and led a moving meeting with the Members of the Cyprus Friends Group in the afternoon. 

Above: Yalcin Adal and Stavros Protz with the Australia / Cyprus Parliamentary Friends Group. 

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit war veteran Alexander Jenkins at his home in Tullamarine yesterday and present him with a certificate of congratulations for his achievements.

The sprightly 96-year-old had many interesting tales to tell about his life and his experiences of war. Mr Jenkins joined the army at 19 because a “couple of blokes stirred him up to get enlisted”.

“My family didn’t encourage me to join, even though we have a history of relatives serving in the army,” Mr Jenkins said.

I am so proud of Roxburgh Park Football Club, in my electorate of Calwell who were awarded with Victoria's Good Sports Club of the Year for 2017.

The community driven football club received this award for their commitment to creating a healthier, family-friendly and safe environment for its members.

 My interview with Jon Faine following the announcement of the same-sex marriage postal survey results.

I was honoured to stand alongside the Leader of the Opposition the Hon Bill Shorten MP in welcoming 150 new citizens to the wider Australian family at Brimbank City Council's 2018 Citizenship Ceremony on Australia Day. 

It was wonderful to witness so many committed people making a pledge to our modern and multicultural country at the Kevin Wheelahan Gardens in Sunshine last Friday. 


Notices 1

MS VAMVAKINOU: To move—That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) Amnesty International has evidence that hundreds of Rohingya women, men and children have been killed since the escalation of a violent assault in Northern Arakan/Rakhine State, Myanmar, since 25 August 2017;

(b) the United Nations has estimated that since August 2017, over 589,000 Rohingyas have been forced to flee to refugee camps in Bangladesh;

(c) there are at least another 20,000 Rohingyas being detained at the borders;

(d) the United Nations Human Rights Council has witnessed accounts and heard testimonies of the Myanmar security force setting villages on fire and injuring, torturing, raping, killing and executing innocent victims; Page 6 of 12

(e) 214 villages have been destroyed through fire and will be taken over by the Myanmar Government because burnt land becomes government-managed land;

(f) the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has called these government attacks ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’; (g) approximately 600,000 people are still deadlocked inside Rakhine State with limited access to food, medical care or humanitarian assistance;

(h) despite the history of the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine region extending back the post-colonial era, this community has been denied citizenship and most basic government services under since 1982; and

(i) the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine region is an issue that deeply concerns the Australian community; and

(2) urges:

(a) the Government of Myanmar to:

(i) recommit to the pursuit of peace and national reconciliation; and

(ii) allow access to all parts of Rakhine State to allow for the provision of humanitarian aid;

(b) the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs to:

(i) do everything in her power to help alleviate the suffering in Rakhine State;

(ii) lead the push for a strong United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the violence in Rakhine State, and

(iii) work to establish an independent United Nations investigation into human rights abuses in Myanmar; and

(c) the Australian Government to:

(i) support unimpeded humanitarian access to the Rohingya population;

(ii) maintain pressure on the Myanmar Government, particularly the military and security forces, by condemning the persecution, attacks, killings and human rights abuses of the Rohingyas; and

(iii) stand up for the moderate voices in Myanmar which are being widely suppressed by the threat of persecution by the Myanmar military.

(Notice given 23 October 2017.)