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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 14990


Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (10:36): At this time of the year in my community we're all out in force celebrating the many key cultural festival activities that have now become annual events in our areas, making the federal seat of Calwell the most multicultural electorate in all of Australia. Last weekend alone we celebrated community new year festivals, and we are still celebrating International Women's Day.

Last Sunday my day began bright and early at the Highgate Recreation Reserve in Craigieburn to celebrate Sri Lankan New Year—a wonderful day for the Sri Lankan community to enjoy its cultural and sporting activities. This is organised by the North Victoria Welfare and Cultural Association. I want to thank Chandra Bamunusinghe for the tremendous work he does to make this a Sinhalese-Tamil celebration. This has been the case for many years now. For me, then it was off to Broadmeadows to the Seabrook Reserve to celebrate the Assyrian New Year. Following that, I had to dash across to Dallas to celebrate the Chaldean Babylonian New Year, otherwise known as the Akitu festival. This was organised by The Australian Chaldean Federation of Victoria.

The night before that—on Saturday night—I had the opportunity to hit the dance floor, literally, with my Chaldean women's league, who were celebrating a belated International Women's Day function. I want to thank Jonar Warda in particular for organising this wonderful event. I can tell you it's always a joy to be amongst these wonderful women. They take such great pride in their appearance, and I'm going to declare them as the most beautiful women in my electorate.

Last month I too held my annual International Women's Day celebration—a morning tea at the Newbury Child and Community Centre in Craigieburn. I want to thank, in particular, Archana Nayak, Anne Coall and all the staff from the Newbury Child and Community Centre for helping out on that day and making it a really, really successful morning tea. I want to thank my local businesswoman Patricia Surace of Baked Provisions, who provided the very delicious cakes, muffins and treats that we all enjoyed. And, of course, I want to give a great shout-out to our mayor, Carly Moore, and our deputy mayor, Naim Kurt, from the Hume City Council for coming along on the day and sharing in the festivities with us. Lastly, I want to thank the good Samaritan school mothers, who themselves on the day provided great entertainment for us all.

Finally, one of my favourite days in the annual calendar is Harmony Day. It's a day to reflect on and celebrate the social cohesion and inclusiveness of our communities and to show our support for the diverse cultures and backgrounds. This year Harmony Day was celebrated by the Dallas Neighbourhood House. They did a wonderful job, and I congratulate them.