Meet a Candidate: Elizabeth Lee

14 September 2016

With the ACT election looming,  we are meeting 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 Lee, Liberal Candidate for Kurrajong.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a law lecturer at ANU and UC, having previously worked as a lawyer in both government and private practice.

I am currently Vice President of the ACT Law Society and also a fitness professional and currently teach Body Balance and Sh’Bam.

I migrated to Australia from Korea when I was seven and grew up in Western Sydney.  I moved to Canberra when I was 18 to study law at ANU and have lived here since then.

What drove you to run for the Legislative Assembly?

I have been blessed with a supportive family, access to world class education and good health which have given me the opportunity to be able to advocate for and represent members of our community, teach the future lawyers of tomorrow and to share my commitment to health and fitness with others.

These opportunities have given me the experience to intimately engage with a diverse section of our community, develop the skills to lead a team of people to achieve good outcomes, and to listen and advocate for people who may not be in a position to do it for themselves.

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

Kurrajong is probably the most diverse electorate in the ACT, encompassing the Inner North and the Inner South.  It is a dynamic electorate that is home to a broad cross-section of the Canberra community.  The growth and development of Braddon (my suburb) in the past few years has been exciting to see; the beautiful bush capital characteristics we see in the older suburbs of Inner South is something we want to cherish and protect; and we see young professionals and start-ups making their mark in the city and New Acton areas.

I have been engaging with a lot of residents of Kurrajong whilst out campaigning and the key issues that have been raised are the high cost of living (particularly rates) and the decline of basic services.  There is also a lot of concern regarding the lack of transparency and accountability in relation to a lot of development particularly around the Inner South.

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

Gender equality in our community is non-negotiable for a prosperous and fair society.  Having worked (and still working) in traditionally male-dominated fields, I see first-hand that we still have some way to go.

Having more courageous role models who lead by example (both men and women) is a good first step to recognise and shape society’s attitude toward gender equality.

Affordable and accessible childcare, greater support for flexible work, fairer paid parental leave and professionalising traditionally female-dominated careers are all factors that we need to take seriously and address to combat gender inequality.

As a society, we need to ensure that these issues remain firmly on the public agenda.

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

Support for children and young people: As a university lecturer, I have seen the amazing things that young people can achieve when given good opportunities and support to reach their fullest potential.  Every child in Australia should have the right to a safe home, access to good education and the opportunity to strive to be anything they want to be.

Reduce gender inequality and violence against women: Gender inequality and family violence have a profound impact on our society as a whole.  The tragic incidences of violence against women that we’ve seen so much of in the media recently are stark reminders that we, as a society, all have a role to play in combatting this scourge on our community.

Make community inclusion and equality a priority for the ACT: I grew up in Western Sydney, with a non-English speaking family and experienced early on what it can be like to feel a little like an “outsider”.  There are a number of factors that go to addressing community inclusion and equality: housing affordability, access to and availability of community resources to overcome language and cultural barriers, a celebration of our multicultural community and a respect for our history – are all areas that we can always improve on.

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

We are lucky to be a truly “smart” city.  We are home to some of the brightest minds in the country and I want to see the amazing research and ideas that come out of Canberra to invest back into our capital city.

I would also love to see Canberra organically grow as a great city whilst retaining its character and soul as Australia’s bush capital.

Canberrans deserve a good, competent government.  We have a well educated, hard working, culturally diverse and socially responsible community and we deserve a government that respects its people.  I want to see a government that will get back to delivering basics; a government that has long-term plan for the future of our city; a government that takes responsibility for the decisions that it has the privilege of making for our community.

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