I want to take this opportunity this evening to refer to the Victorian election result and reflect on what an Andrews-led Labor government will now mean for the people of my electorate. First, I would like to congratulate Daniel Andrews and his team on their wonderful victory on Saturday night, and I certainly look forward to working with them for the benefit not only of Victorians but also of my electorate in particular.The Victorian state election was as much a judgement on the federal budget as it was on the four years of a state coalition government which effectively saw policies and measures taken that hurt Victorians generally and provided little or no support to the many people and families who live in my electorate. In fact, I well remember that, upon coming to office four years ago, the now former coalition state Liberal government stripped away from my electorate $30 million that had been allocated and budgeted for by the previous Brumby Labor government for the redevelopment of the Broadmeadows train station centre. This was a bad omen indeed for my constituents, and, unfortunately, it did not get any better for them, as our local families and communities were largely ignored by the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
I begin by commending the member for Swan for bringing this motion to the House, and I full well remember his very important speech five years ago to this chamber. So I would like to begin by acknowledging that it has been five years since the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered a national apology to the forgotten Australians and former child migrants. Around half a million people were affected by this terrible chapter of Australian history—people who, as children, were separated from their families, raised in institutions and deprived of love, of basic health care, of educational opportunities, and of a sense of security and self worth. So many of them suffered much worse than deprivation; they were physically, sexually and emotionally abused. The national apology did not and never could completely heal the deep and longstanding wounds of the forgotten Australians, but hopefully it began a slow process of ensuring that they would no longer be forgotten.
In moving this motion, I want to first acknowledge that in 1977 the United Nations declared 29 November the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I also want to acknowledge that 2014 has been declared as the United Nations Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.I want to remind the House that it has been 67 years since the partition of Palestine and the occupation, which continues until today—an occupation that is devastating, demoralising and damaging for all involved. The time has now come for this to end. Australia, and indeed this parliament, must now recognise the state of Palestine. Australia must vote yes at the UN for Palestinian Statehood. Fifty six per cent of Australians are in favour of this and 135 countries have already done so.In his message for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed that:We have passed through another sombre, sad and sorry year for Palestinians, Israelis and all who seek peace. Over the course of 50 brutal days this summer, the world witnessed a ruthless war in Gaza — the third such conflict in six years.
Following the Federal Election in 2013, the new electoral boundaries of the federal seat of Calwell came into effect. The suburbs of Sydenham, Taylors Lakes Keilor, Keilor North, Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Keilor Village and Calder Park join Attwood, Broadmeadows, Campbellfield, Coolaroo, parts of Craigieburn, Dallas, Gladstone Park, Greenvale, Jacana, Meadow Heights, Melbourne Airport, Roxburgh Park, Somerton and Westmeadows to form the boundaries of the new seat of Calwell.This is the second redistribution to affect the boundaries of the seat of Calwell in the time that I have been the Member. I will be relocating my electorate office, currently at the Broadmeadows Railway Station, to the Keilor Shopping Centre on November 10, 2014.The decision to relocate the electorate office from its long standing location was not an easy one to make. I had to consider, however, what would be the best way of servicing all of the constituents of Calwell. It is my intention to remain accessible to all, and together with my office staff, I will be running mobile offices and making appointments to see constituents in the City of Hume area.
The new office details are: Office of Maria Vamvakinou MP
Federal Member for Calwell Shop M0004 Keilor Shopping Centre
80 Taylors Road, Keilor Downs, Vic 3038
Ph:(03) 9367 5216; fax:(03) 9367 3064; Canberra (02) 6277 4249