House debates

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Constituency Statements

Islamic Council of Victoria

4:25 pm

Photo of Maria VamvakinouMaria Vamvakinou (Calwell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I rise to support the Islamic Council of Victoria. I would like to recognise the wonderful work they do in servicing our vibrant Islamic community in my home state of Victoria and the work that they do to foster deeper and meaningful connections with the broader Victorian community. I especially want to point out the important work that the ICV does in strengthening relationships between First Nations people and the Muslim community. This was highlighted with the signing of an accord to recognise and support the First Peoples of Australia. It's an accord between the ICV and the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples. The accord was officially signed by ICV President Mohamed Mohideen and Jackie Huggins, a co-chair of the congress, at the annual ICV dinner held in my electorate on Sunday, 18 November.

The accord is an agreement by the ICV to support congress as an organisation and also to support a set of key objectives and principles. These include promoting the domestic implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, promoting the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution and promoting the National Anti-Racism Strategy, and further partnership work as negotiated and agreed to by both parties. I congratulate both organisations on making this commitment that will nurture, support and foster cohesive relationships and enrich our local communities.

I also want to congratulate the ICV on two other pioneering initiatives in 2018. The first is the creation of the Jackie Huggins Humanitarian Scholarship at La Trobe University. This scholarship is available to a recently arrived Muslim refugee student in need of financial assistance. In addition to this the Islamic Council of Victoria sponsored three beds as part of the Royal Children's Hospital Foundation bed sponsorship program. This builds on the continued long-term relationship that the ICV has with the Royal Children's Hospital.

There are many other programs that the ICV is involved in to ensure that the Muslim community in Victoria are able to make contributions to our community in ways that are consistent with the values of their faith. In closing, I want to say that Nail Aykan, the retiring CEO of the Islamic Council of Victoria, is not only a long-time constituent of mine but a very good friend of mine. He has been at the helm of the ICV for over a decade. He has led it to grow from strength to strength. He has been a champion of multiculturalism and a champion of interfaith activities. He has been a wonderful asset to our community. I look forward to working with Nail in whatever he chooses to do in the future. I congratulate him. (Time expired)