I'm excited to announce two new youth projects being initiated in the Calwell electorate that are open to local 16 - 25 year olds. The first is Calwell Youth, an online publication platform for young people to write articles, and the second is a committee position on the 2019 Calwell Youth Committee. More information about these projects can be found below for those interested, with article submissions for Calwell Youth and expression of interests for the Youth Committee now open.

I've been passionate about gender equality since I was old enough to realise I was a woman, a girl. And I'm also the mother of a daughter, and I've spent most of my life trying to encourage and mentor young women.

As a woman, growing up with a migrant background, I've had to learn that overcoming gender stereotypes were very important to my ability to progress and develop to the fullest of my potential. 

Kylee Bates, CEO of Ardoch Youth Foundation visited me in my office today sand told me about the fantastic work the organisation is doing in linking volunteer classroom helpers and mentors with schools and students.  Ardoch works alongside schools and teachers to help young people – from pre-school to secondary school – gain greater confidence in reading, numeracy, learning generally, and life opportunities. Ardoch places screened and trained volunteers into primary and secondary school classrooms at the request of partner schools to support the teachers.

Above: Kylee Bates, CEO of Ardoch Youth Foundation with Maria Vamvakinou MP. 

What a bunch of incredibly talented primary school students I have in my electorate! And I know this because of the entries my office received as part of my 2018 Christmas Card cover competition. The entries were so colourful, and impressive, I couldn’t decide on one winner – so I picked two.

I’d like to congratulate Aaron Alescio from Jacana School for Autism and Sarah El Hassan from Greenvale Primary school whose creative pieces both made it on the cover my 2018 Christmas cards that are currently being sent throughout the electorate.

Above: Aaron Alescio with his classmates at Jacana School For Autism

Financial counselling can have an enormous impact on the lives of my constituents experiencing financial difficulties and today I got to see that first hand through the 'Day in the Life' Project. I was given an opportunity to meet with the financial counsellors at Uniting Vic Tas who talked me through the services they provide and meet with constituents who were struggling with financial difficulties and the stressful impact this has on their life. 

Above: Meeting the team - with the financial counsellors from Uniting Vic Tas. 

We discussed the main challenges my constituents face who struggle with debt, and they talked me through their role in providing this important service. 

The financial counselling service supports people on low incomes and those experiencing financial difficulties to achieve financial security and independence. The service is free of charge and counsellors are bound by law to keep matters relating to finances confidential. 

Helen Patsikatheodorou was the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Robert Kumar Community Award for her outstanding contribution to the Hume Community.

Helen Patsikatheodorou is still referred to as the City of Hume’s ‘Pink Mayor’. Now retired from Council after eight years of service, Helen earned her nickname during her second term as Mayor in 2016. After being diagnosed with breast cancer herself, Helen made a point of wearing something pink every day to help remind all women to have regular breast screening.

Above: Nik Patsikatheodorou with his mum Helen Patsikatheodorou. 

GPAN is a youth led project at Banksia Gardens working towards the prevention of violence against women in my electorate. GPAN recently launched the inaugural Eurydice Dixon Gender Equality Champions Award, to celebrate young leaders working toward gender equity in the community.


My interview with SBS Greek in response to Senator Fraser Anning's maiden speech in Parliament on 14 August, 2018:

Parliament has united in fury and determination to condemn unrepentant Queensland senator Fraser Anning for his speech praising the White Australia policy and attacking Muslim immigration.