Wednesday, 28 March 2018
International Women's Day
On 8 March, I celebrated International Women's Day with a wonderful group of women in my electorate. It was held at the Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School, who also co-hosted the event with the Roxburgh Park Football Club. We joined to celebrate with the newly arrived migrant and refugee women, predominantly from Iraq and Syria, who have settled in our area. We pay tribute to the women who have mentored our local women in the community and recognise the tireless efforts of the school community and the community workers in assisting and supporting them and their families. I want to thank our local sponsors of the event, BRITE Services, Naturally Good Products and Nestle for their kind donations. I want to thank in particular the school and football club for all their hard work in setting up and facilitating this event, which we all agreed on the day should become an annual event on International Women's Day.
The theme for this year's International Women's Day was 'Press for progress'. I am proud to say that nowhere is that progress more evident than in my electorate of Calwell. The kind donations and the goodwill of the Calwell community show how willing our local schools, settlement agencies and community in general are in assisting in the settlement of our newly arrived migrants and refugees.
I especially want to thank the women who came along to the event and who shared their stories with us. For almost all of them, it was their first ever International Women's Day event and they were truly overwhelmed and excited. I want to thank the Mayor of the City of Hume, Geoff Porter, and the Deputy Mayor, Carley Moore. I want to thank the Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School Principal, Paul Sedunary, and Deputy Principal, Helen Smith, as well as the wonderful Ban Shamun, who assists the school as a sort aid between the newly arrived and the school community. I also want to thank Vicki Short from the Roxburgh Park Football Club; Connie Manglaviti from Naturally Good Products, a local small business; Antoinetta Farrugia for the wonderful pink cupcakes that she made for us on the day; Ms Najwa Farakis from the El Telegraph Newspaper; the members of the Pakistani Welfare Organisation of Australia; Eileen Kelly, the human resources manager at Nestle; and Leanne Meddings, who is also from Nestle. My many thanks also go to the Northern Community Legal Centre, Attwood House, Lentara Uniting Care, and Dianella Health. I want to especially thank Mary Elizabeth Calwell for attending as our special guest on the day, and the Museum of Australia Democracy for providing us with greeting cards from their latest exhibition titled The Gift: Art, Artefacts & Arrivals.
All the women present were encouraged to write a message of hope to the newly-arrived migrants. I want to read out Mary Elizabeth Calwell's message of hope:
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.