5 July 2016
I’m a mother of two teenage boys; a wife to Paul, and we’re also small business owners. Paul and I both work full time and together we juggle the business of everyday life – every day – just like most in our community.
One of the values that drives me in nearly everything that I do, is the need to keep working on creating a more equal, and fair society. Sounds a little bit corny but I can’t change who I am.
I think that the best way I can do this is through policy responses that support everyone, particularly our most vulnerable. My family is firmly embedded in this community – we’ve been here for 30 years – and I believe with my local background, it puts me in a great position to work towards making Tuggeranong a stronger and more inclusive community.
What drove you to run for the Legislative Assembly?
I’m not running on one burning issue. I’m running for a whole lot of reasons. I want create a fairer, more supportive and prosperous Canberra for everyone. I’m running because I love Tuggeranong, I love Canberra and I want to be a part of the decision making process, to make sure the decisions that are made in the Legislative Assembly balance economics with social inclusion and that there is an equitable balance between funding for Tuggeranong and the other regions. I do feel like I’m here for a reason, I’m a wife, I’m a mother and a Tuggeranong lover – I am determined to give it my best shot.
What is something that people may be surprised to know about Brindabella, and what do you see as the key issues facing the electorate?
Well, we’re not nappy valley anymore! When I was 15, I lived in Kambah and our house looked down across the valley where Tuggeranong is now. There was no lake, just building sites and brand new roads. I even remember when the Hyperdome opened! I was in year 11 (that was around 28 years ago!) at Erindale College. We were certainly a growing part of Canberra, it was an exciting time!
But in the last ABS stats – Tuggeranong had a net loss of over 500 people from the area. The northern suburbs had a gain of many thousands. As a Tuggeranong advocate, I love the area but I understand there are a number of reasons why people are making the decision to leave. I think there is work to be done to stem the flow, which may involve more new housing options or other forms of development, and of course investment in infrastructure. Unless we focus on more public and private investment in Tuggeranong, with new housing options to support growth in our community, we’ll keep losing people, which is bad for business and bad for our community.
What are the barriers that you see to gender equality in our community, and how do you propose to address this?
Family and domestic violence is obviously not just an ACT issue, it’s a national issue and requires a national response. I am very proud of the ACT Labor Government’s recent announcement in this year’s budget where they have committed an additional $21 million on the Safer Families programs to support social inclusion and equality across the ACT.
Working as women’s adviser for the former Minister for Women, former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher (now Senator) our main focus was to ensure policy development in government didn’t unfairly impact on women. We also introduced initiatives to support women in Canberra – a women’s grants program, the women’s advisory council, the women’s safety strategy and eventually a micro-credit program. We still have a long way to go however. Gender equality is talked about a lot right now and that’s a great thing. We need to keep going, and not be afraid to stand up and fight for it.
My election campaign is about equality in every sense of the word and feminism is certainly at the heart of that ideal. I will not stop working for gender equality, and equality across our city.
In our election platform we have identified three priority areas which require ongoing action. How do you envisage developing a more inclusive, equitable Canberra?
If I am elected in October, my work is to represent all Canberrans. From the work that I have contributed over many years in the community through the various community organisations such as Vinnies, and Menslink, and a range of others, I know that this work is lasting and worthwhile. It changes lives.
We are all in it together and no one sector can solve it alone – government, community and business need to be working for the same common goal.
What is the change that you are passionate about seeing in Canberra?
I want everyone to see opportunities. Through access to healthcare, education, employment or just having a house to call home.
Probably the closest to my heart is these opportunities being available to women and young girls. I’ve always worked hard for this through my working life and my volunteering which is why I am so appreciative of the great work the YWCA does in the community space to make these opportunities a reality for so many women.
Like I said earlier – we are all in this together, I want to be part of a Government working with community and business to achieve great outcomes.
Simply, I just want life to be better for everyone regardless of where you came from or how much money you have sitting in your ditty purse.