I’m pleased to acknowledge the members of my community who were recognised as part of the King’s Birthday Honours last week. Congratulations to Miranda Armstrong OAM and Maria Dopheide OAM from Eltham for their service to the community through social welfare organisations and especially their work assisting refugees through Our Lady Help of Christians Church; to Dr Virendra Berera OAM from Ivanhoe East for his service to the Indian community of Victoria; to Anthony Calandro ACM for his service to the state through his work with Corrections Victoria and providing help to those in their post-sentence phase; to the late Kevin Elms Sr OAM and his family, formerly of Heidelberg Heights, recognised for his service to the community through the love of our national game—that’s AFL—and involvement in the North Heidelberg Sporting Club; to Ian Godfrey OAM from Heidelberg for his service to tertiary education and to music; to Mary McBride OAM of Greensborough for her service to the Irish community of Victoria; to Dr Paul Power OAM from Macleod for his service to the nation through psychology; to Dr Margaret James OAM for her service to the nation in the higher education field, particularly for her service to women; and to Imam Alaa Elzokm OAM, recognised for his service in my community since he came to Australia from Egypt several years ago. Alaa has been a great role model as the imam at Elsedeaq Islamic mosque in Heidelberg Heights.
There are two more OAMs in my community, locals who I am particularly proud to call friends: Gwen Rosengren OAM of Ivanhoe and Sandra Macneil OAM of Greensborough. Gwen is recognised for her service to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and to education. Everyone who knows Gwen knows what a wonderful and community minded person she is. Congratulations, Gwen. Sandra, who actually prefers to be known as Macca, is recognised for her service to the people of Greensborough for over 40 years, through local sport, education and the environment. She is a true legend of the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Congratulations, Macca.
I also celebrate another local included in this year’s honours, who would be known nationally: Marina Prior AM, recognised for her significant service to our country as a singer and performer and in musical theatre. Marina is, of course, one of our country’s great performers. I’m proud that she’s part of my community. I’m sure we all have a Marina story. Mine is being awed by her performances in shows such as Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story in the early nineties. Congratulations, Marina.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and recognise my predecessor, the former member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin AC, who has been appointed a Companion of the order of Australia. Amongst her many achievements—many of those in this place are aware of her many achievements—she spearheaded the creation of the NDIS, aided in the apology to Australia’s First Nations people and was a driving force behind our country’s first paid parental leave scheme.
I know that neither Jenny nor any of the other people on this list did any of the work they did for recognition, but it is absolutely appropriate that both our community and our country recognise them. So congratulations to Jenny, congratulations to all of the locals recognised in these honours, and thank you for all you do to make our community and our country a better place. It is fitting that we recognise that with honours and here in the House as well.
In the time I have left, I also want to highlight the work of some organisations in my community who are doing particularly important work at the moment—and have been doing so over many years—for First Nations people and for reconciliation. Barrbunin Beek, meaning ‘happy place’ in the Woiwurrung language, is a space in Heidelberg West in Banyule City Council that offers a place for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to gather. I was really pleased to attend their Family Open Day recently and to catch up there with all the members of Barrbunin Beek and my friend Uncle Charles Pakana. Barrbunin Beek provides connections to local council and health services, as well as opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to have a direct impact on the local community and to celebrate their culture. I thank them for their important work locally and for the outreach they do.
I also recognise the two local reconciliation groups in my community, Reconciliation Banyule and Nillumbik Reconciliation Group, who are both made up of committed and engaged locals who have been part of reconciliation work locally for years. The Nillumbik Reconciliation Group, in fact, recently celebrated their 25th anniversary with an event in Eltham, so that shows you what a long and proud history there is in my local community of people working together for positive change to take our country forward. I commend all their efforts.