Meet a candidate: Elizabeth Kikkert

23 May 2016

Jordan Lim

Jordan is the Communications and Advocacy Officer at YWCA Canberra.

With elections looming at both the territory and federal levels, we were interested to meet the women candidates standing for election for the ACT Legislative Assembly, to learn a bit more about them and their priorities for the community.
This week, meet Elizabeth Kikkert, Liberal Party Candidate for Ginninderra.Elizabeth Kikkert

 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve lived in Canberra for over 10 years. My husband and I have 5 children. One in College, two in high school and the youngest two are in primary school.

I married and began raising my family in my early 20s while supporting my husband through seven years of tertiary education, his enlistment in the Australian Army Reserve, his employment, and eventually working together in our family business.

My family has always been the centre of our lives. Building a strong family takes hard work. I have been given an inner gift of determination that “I’ll do whatever it takes” and that I work and will always continue to work hard.  Since we moved here to Canberra from Adelaide, I’ve been involved with volunteer work and helping people within our community. It is one of the greatest rewards in life; to reach out to those who are in need.

What drove you to run for the Legislative Assembly?

I am driven to run for the ACT Legislative Assembly to improve the efficiency of government and to make a difference.  Our taxes have increased a lot and our hard earned money is being put into low priority projects.  Residents have been disheartened and burdened with increased taxes and rates, and I am here to protect families from having extra financial burdens in their lives that they do not need.  We need a change of government, a new focus on the people and what really matters.

What is something that people may be surprised to know about Ginninderra, and what do you see as the key issues facing the electorate?

The Ginninderra electorate is a beautiful place. It has the first Turkish restaurant in Canberra and has belly dancing every Saturday night.   You can walk from the Belconnen Town Centre to every local suburb.  We have parks, reserves and a beautiful lake for residents to enjoy, and the community is filled with friendly, generous people who help each-other out.

The key issues I see in Ginninderra electorate is house affordability, improvement of infrastructure, better education and transportation and to improve our local parks, reserves and road safety. We can work together to solve Ginninderra’s important issues.

What are the barriers that you see to gender equality in our community, and how do you propose to address this?

While we have seen a great deal of progress in regards to gender equality over the past decades, I am committed to ensure that we continue to break through barriers and ensure that women have all of the same opportunities that men have in our community and in our workplaces.  Women still take home less pay than men, are over-represented as part-time workers in low-paid industries and are underrepresented in leadership roles.  I think it is essential that women’s contributions and achievements in all areas in our community are recognised and acknowledged.  I encourage employers to create a culture in their workplaces that will allow women to make significant contributions while also allowing them to balance their family commitments.  And men will also benefit as they also model a balance between work and family.  I am deeply concerned by the scourge of sexual harassment in the workforce, and feel very strongly that this must stop.  We need a strong stance on this issue and must protect and empower women and children from harm.

In our election platform we have identified three priority areas which require ongoing action. How do you envisage developing a more inclusive, equitable Canberra?

The health and vitality of Canberra’s communities is one of the reasons why I love Canberra so much. It is one of the best places to live on the planet.  To ensure this continues, the Government needs to work together with community groups and other agencies to address critical social issues that affect us all, and to make sure that the needs of all residents, including our children, are met.  As a city, we need to build on past successes and offer vulnerable women, children and overburdened families opportunities to begin changing their lives for the better.  Our women in leadership positions are also a great resource to our community as they mentor other women in the arts of leadership.  I have greatly benefited from being mentored by women who I look up to as role-models, and I look forward to likewise mentoring other women to become leaders and make significant contributions to our community.

What is the change that you are passionate about seeing in Canberra?

When my daughter was born thirteen years ago, we named her Utopia to remind her that each of us can work to make this world a better place.  We wanted our daughter to grow up as part of a community where we care for each-other and help each-other.  This is the potential of our great city.  I see a city where residents actively participate with the government, agencies and stakeholders to create new housing, parks, businesses and health clinics for the community.  I see residents looking out for each-other’s needs and helping one another out.  I see residents sharing each-others burdens and working together to better their own community and lifestyle.  I believe that we can make Canberra a city which is inclusive and equitable.

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