Ismail Soykuvvett, Mimi Tamburrino, Peter Khalil and Bob Hawke – Australian Multiculturalism Works


Peter Khalil: Thirty-three years ago, a man named Ismail Soykuvvett walked into the Wills electorate office seeking assistance with an immigration matter. He was seeking residency in Australia based on his marriage to the Australian love of his life. At the time, it was former great Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke who was the member for Wills. Ismail was helped by an electorate officer in Bob’s office named Mimi Tamburrino. His matter was resolved through representations by the office, and he got his residency.

Last week, on an unrelated matter, a man walked into my office in Wills seeking assistance—the same office. As it turns out, it was the same man, Ismail, and it was he who recognised that, after all these years, he was getting assistance once more from the very same Mimi Tamburrino, from 33 years ago, for Mimi is on my staff as she was on Bob’s.

Ismail is now a husband, a father of five and a grandfather of one. He spends his days working in the family business, Chorba Cafe, around the corner from my office. Ismail is a prime example of the great contribution of migrants to this great land. He came to Australia without university-level English. He settled here and firmly established his roots. He and his wife worked hard and raised their children, who have grown up and are now making lives for families of their own. He and his family now spend their days joyfully feeding the people of Wills because, 33 years ago, a Turkish man walked into Bob Hawke’s office for help. Last week, an Australian walked out of my office. And that’s why Australian multiculturalism works.