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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14799

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (11:22): I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak today about the fantastic work of my local Hume City Council. Just in the past two weeks, Hume City Council has hosted two very successful and important events.

The first was the Freedom of Entry Parade into the City of Hume, which was conducted at the Broadmeadows Town Park on the weekend of 15 November. Freedom of entry is a medieval tradition whereby municipal authorities would grant military units entry into the city as a symbolic gesture of the trust and bond between the regiment and the community. The tradition is thought to have begun following Charles II's accession to the throne in 1660. It is said that the regiments believed that they were entitled to enter the City of London, whereas the Fathers of the City of London claimed that they had the right to forbid bodies of armed troops entering the city precincts. Thus, a process was formalised whereby the city would grant troops entry into the city in an official ceremony for regiments with peaceful intent. This tradition became known as Freedom of Entry. In the absence of a Freedom of Entry agreement, military forces were often turned away at city gates. Whilst this custom finds its roots in 17th century Britain, it continues to be celebrated in a number of Commonwealth countries to this day.

The new mayor of the Hume City Council, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, had the honour of granting the Freedom of Entry right to the 4th Combat Service Support Battalion based at the Maygar Barracks in Broadmeadows. The 101-year-old Maygar Barracks site is named after Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Cecil Maygar, a Victoria Cross recipient, who established the base to train soldiers for World War I. The soldiers participating in the parade two weekends ago serve in those very same barracks, making this particular Freedom of Entry into the city very timely for us to honour and acknowledge our military, especially in the centenary year of the First World War.

I thank the mayor and Hume City Council for hosting this wonderful tradition, which included the regiment's band playing, with swords drawn and flags flying as the regiment marched through Broadmeadows with the community following behind. It was a privilege to honour and acknowledge the Australian Army through a centuries old tradition. My sincere thanks and appreciation go to 4th Combat Service Support Battalion; North West Metro Division 4 Commander Acting Superintendent Peter Seiz; host officer for the parade, Brigadier Westphalen, Commander 4th Brigade;    Colonel Commandant Royal Australian Army Medical Corps Major General Rosenfield; Colonel Commandant Royal Australian Corps of Transport Colonel Rowe; head of corps representative Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, Major Graham; and Warrant Officer Class One Buliman, Regimental Sergeant Major 4th Brigade. To every soldier who has been stationed at Maygar Barracks, past and present, I hope that the parade showed how honoured and appreciated you all are by the broader community.

The second event was held last Wednesday, 25 November at Broadmeadows Town Hall to acknowledge International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, known by all of us as White Ribbon Day. Hume City Council holds an event each year which aims to raise awareness and change attitudes towards violence against women. This year's event was attended by hundreds of people who listened to speakers such as Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Victorian state Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson, as well as special guest speaker and Australian of the Year Rosie Batty. Rosie Batty, as we all know, is a tireless family violence campaigner. She is a highly sought-after speaker but on this occasion Rosie chose to speak at Hume City Council because of how proactive the council has been in campaigning against family violence.

Hume needs to be proactive as it has the second-highest rate of police call-outs for family violence incidents in metropolitan Victoria. Police receive a call-out for a family-violence incident every three minutes in Hume. This is a worrying, shocking and distressing statistic for all of us. I thank Fiona and Rosie, who spoke about hope for change in what is often considered an overwhelming and distressing issue. They mentioned social changes regarding other social issues such as restrictions on smoking and seatbelt usage—30 years ago, these issues were huge problems. Because of great public campaigns and advocacy, today they are things we take for granted. Their message was that social change can occur where there is a will and momentum. I am very pleased that both those women were in my electorate last week speaking on a very important issue, White Ribbon Day. (Time expired)