House debates

Monday, 7 December 2020

Statements by Members

Haweil, Mr Joseph

4:08 pm

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

My constituent and good friend Councillor Joseph Haweil was elected mayor of the City of Hume, making him the first mayor of Assyrian background in Victoria and the second-youngest mayor in Hume's history. Hume and, of course, Calwell have a very large Assyrian and Chaldean community. Joseph and his family are proud members of that community, and his elevation to mayor is a milestone for their representation at local government level. There was also lots of cheering from the Assyrian community in Western Sydney, where Joseph well known and highly regarded.

Joseph has served as Aitken Ward councillor since 2016. During that time he has acquired the reputation as the most anti-infringements councillor in Victoria, by making a first-time infringement offence a legitimate ground for waiving a fine. He has slashed the penalties for 11 parking fine categories from $83 to $33 and delivered a record reduction in the number of fines issued. Joseph has also taken on the pokies industry and was successful in achieving a permanent cap for the number of pokies in Hume City Council. As a recognition of his own Assyrian community, Joseph secured the naming of a local street after the capital of ancient Syria, Nineveh Road in Craigieburn, recognising the cultural heritage of Ancient Mesopotamia. This is a small but significant gesture for a beleaguered people who have no country, who have suffered continuous persecution for the past 2,000 years, and who are grateful to call Australia home.