It was such an honour to officially launch the Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy Inc at the Royal Children's Hospital on Wednesday 19 June, 2019. The auditorium was filled with healthcare professionals, carers, patients, and families all there to advocate on behalf of those affected by sickle cell disease in Melbourne

I want to thank the group’s executive director and founder Agnes Nsofwa for all her hard work in raising awareness on sickle cell disease (SCD) in Australia. Agnes and her husband Preston have given up their time and energy to advocate on issues affecting sufferers of SCD after their beautiful daughter Mapalo Joy was diagnosed when she was a baby.

Above: With Mapalo Joy Nsofwa. 

What a great turn out for this year's International Women's Day (IWD) at the Newbury Child and Community Centre in Craigieburn. It was great to celebrate IWD with the wonderful Calwell women, community groups and friends and focus on the 2019 IWD theme #BalanceforBetter.

It was such an honour to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Australian Assyrian Community Centre on Sunday 9 June, 2019.  The multipurpose facility will address the needs of advancing the Assyrian language, culture and tradition here in Calwell.

The Australian Assyrian Community Centre is a Diocesan project to address the needs of the booming Middle East refugee community in Hume City and the wider northern region. It will provide an accessible, low-cost community facility for new and emerging communities with a particular focus on refugees, youth, seniors and women. It will also be the new and permanent home for the existing St George Assyrian Language School. The Diocese is proudly partnering with the Victorian Government to deliver the project with part-funding under the Multicultural Community Infrastructure Fund.

Marcus Tullius Cicero said  “A room without books is like a body without a soul." If this is true, my constituent Sabah Barkho has plenty of soul.  

Mr Barkho brought with him from Iraq his rich and vast collection of Arabic books and with them he has created an at home library. His beautiful collection includes many works of English, European and America literature translated to Arabic, as well as many original Arabic texts. Mr Barkho shares his collection with local schools and at community events to highlight the great contribution of the Arabic language and Iraqi cultural tradition to the world.

Surrounded by books in Mr Barkho's home.

I am humbled to be re-elected as your representative in the Federal Parliament.

I will continue to fight for a fair go; I will advocate for our needs and services; and I will continue to work everyday to serve our communities. I look forward to sharing our local Calwell stories and achievements in the Federal Parliament for the next three years. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the 46th Parliament of Australia.

- Maria

The Dallas Neighbourhood House in Broadmeadows provides a wonderful Food Parcel Program, an important initiative in my electorate of Calwell. The Food Parcel Program is run by a team of volunteers, who sort up to 65 bags and food items in each delivery. In 2018, the volunteers had prepared and gave away over 3000 parcels.

Over 60 members of the Greek Orthodox Community of Broadmeadows and Districts attended an aged care forum hosted by Maria Vamvakinou MP in the electorate of Calwell on Monday 8 April. The forum, conducted by Pronia, was aimed at informing the Greek community on aged care programs and services available to them. 

Ms Vamvakinou held the forum after members of her elderly Greek community reached out to her for information on Home Care Packages and other services specific to elderly communities. 

As you know, a Federal election will be held within the next few months, and the ALP has a  real chance of winning. 

We have an opportunity to finally end a government of chaos and division, of low wages and savage cuts to penalty rates, of tax breaks to big companies and reluctance to make big banks accountable, of climate change denial and inaction on energy security.  

We still need to work hard as a team to ensure victory for Labor, for a better and fairer Australia. And we need your help!