Joseph Haweil is the Mayor of Hume City Council, (Aitken Ward). Hume City Council recognises the rich Aboriginal heritage within the municipality and acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, which includes the Gunung-Willam-Balluk clan, as the Traditional Custodians of this land. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, an Honours degree in History and a Master of International Relations degree, all from the University of Melbourne. Additionally, he is a graduate of the prestigious Australian Institute of Company Directors, having successfully completed the corporate Company Directors course.
In accepting the role of Mayor, Cr Haweil spoke of his father’s experience migrating to Australia from Iraq and how service to his family, community and country underpins his personal and professional values as he moves into this role. “When he got his first job on the production line at the Ford Motor Company’s Broadmeadows plant, he could scarcely have imagined that one day his son would become the Mayor of the city which gave him his start in this new land of opportunity, Australia,” Cr Haweil said.
“It is this very freedom to pursue opportunity that has made Australia the promised land for generations of migrants, thousands of whom have had their start here in Hume. “In this role I will support and champion Australian values like mutual respect, tolerance, compassion for those in need and equality of opportunity.” Cr Haweil vowed to work with his fellow councillors and community in Hume City’s recovery from COVID-19. “As Mayor, I will work with my colleagues to prioritise supporting businesses to recover, reopen and rebuild. “I know many of you have fresh perspectives and I for one am eager to support any idea that benefits our community. “I believe strongly that the views of the community and your elected representatives should inform decision making.”
During his mayorship, Cr Haweil will oversee 150 shovel-ready jobs to create local jobs for local people and continue to advocate and champion key election issues for the community. “We know we can’t wait for this critical infrastructure to be upgraded as more and more people choose to call Hume home each year.” As the second youngest Mayor in Hume’s history, Cr Haweil hopes to address the apathy that many young people today feel about government and politics. “I hope that these milestones will encourage young people in Hume to get involved in leadership in politics and government and affirm that through public service, you can make a meaningful and positive impact on your community.”
In the evening of Tuesday 20 May, Councillors and Directors of Hume City Council attended at Truth-Telling Session at Broadmeadows Town Hall.
The session was facilitated by Uncle Bill Nicholson from Wurundjeri and tables were set-up in the form of an Aboriginal yarning circle. It was a night of storytelling and began with Uncle Bill providing an overview of history from the Aboriginal perspective. Five of our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) members then shared their personal stories with the intention of Directors and Councillors understanding the ongoing daily impacts of colonisation, government policies, racism and intergenerational trauma.
It was an opportunity to listen and learn, and it was emotional and raw.
Feedback received includes that Councillors were engaged and moved by the session and concerned about the current lived experience of Aboriginal community members in the here and now particularly around lack of knowledge of Aboriginal culture and the racism that community members experience. A number of Councillors expressed a desire to have more opportunities to learn, experience and share Aboriginal culture with themselves and the broader community. Professionally, Joseph has worked as a Federal Australian Civil Servant including in the fields of Immigration and Border Protection, Social Services and Home Affairs. His operational and policy roles have focused on border security, legislative decision making and most recently in settlement policy. In 2016 at the age of 27, he was elected to Hume City Council (one of the largest municipalities in Victoria) as one of the state’s youngest municipal Councillors, for which he has worked actively in leading on areas such as multicultural affairs, arts and culture, community development, gaming reform.
Joseph has been particularly active on supporting the settlement, integration and empowerment of new and emerging communities to reach their full potential. In addition, Joseph’s international experience includes offshore government postings, Masters degree level studies including an overseas intensive course at Indonesia’s Universitas Gadja Mada and youth cultural exchange program in Moscow hosted by the Russian Orthodox Church. His experience also includes a previous Regional Youth Interfaith Forum hosted by the European Union and Australia, and he has represented Hume in a local government delegation to the Republic of Timor-Leste focused on decentralization, aid and development and enhancing cultural ties between municipalities and peoples. He is actively engaged with numerous local Australian institutions including the Victorian Multicultural Commission where he provided strategic and thematic advice on issues of multiculturalism and citizenship as an advisor appointed to a Regional Advisory Council.
Council embraces Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander living cultures as a vital part of Australia’s identity and recognises, celebrates and pays respect to the existing family members of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and to Elders past, present and future.