9 May 2016
I’m a born and bred Canberran from Dutch migrant parents.
My life has not been without adversity – this has been my reality and what informs my thinking and approach.
Contributing is a way of paying forward the support I have received when I needed it. After escaping violence, I became a Lifeline volunteer. Since then I have gone on to manage the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre and chaired the National Association of Services against Sexual Violence.
My partner and I are both active in the community and have successfully raised four children. We were married for all of three and a half days during the five days of marriage equality that existed in the ACT.
I have found my ‘home’ with the Greens because their principles and policies align with my personal values and beliefs – participatory democracy, a healthy environment, a fair economic system and social justice.
What drove you to run for the Legislative Assembly?
After many years of lobbying and engaging with MLA’s and MP’s, I came to realise that I could probably do as good a job, or in some cases a better job than them.
I have a passion and desire to make a difference – especially for those who are marginalised and disadvantaged. Most of all, I believe I have a responsibility to run. Different people have different skills, expertise and abilities and it takes all of us to contribute to promote a socially connected and just society.
The new electorate of Yerrabi is diverse in its coverage of Hall, Gungahlin, and some parts of Belconnen. What is something that people may be surprised to know about Yerrabi, and what do you see as the key issues facing the electorate?
Recently a Ngunnawal Elder told me that Yerrabi means “come on – let’s go!”. I think that describes the area perfectly – it’s a fast growing region and is in some way struggling to keep up with itself.
Affordable, safe and secure housing remains an issue about which we need to become more creative.
Obviously an integrated public transport system is a key issue. Many have not realised that over a million bus kilometres will be fed back into the system once the light rail system is introduced.
A cohesive town plan that provides employment options, green spaces and leisure opportunities is what will ensure that Gungahlin grows into its vision.
What are the barriers that you see to gender equality in our community, and how do you propose to address this?
The barriers are definitely structural and systemic. Obviously promoting the role of women in leadership and decision making positions is part of the solution – that is why I am standing.
The ACT Government needs to get more serious about understanding and responding to gender impact statements when new legislation and policies are proposed.
We need to get serious about having 50/50 representation on all government appointed boards, committees, the judiciary and in senior roles in government. My resolve is to ensure that this occurs in a rigorous and non-tokenistic way.
In our election platform we have identified three priority areas which require ongoing action. How do you envisage developing a more inclusive, equitable Canberra?
I have examined the election platform and support the general direction of it. It is clear that investing in our children and young people is the key to a better future – for them and for society as a whole.
I have been clear in my mind for many years that if we don’t deal appropriately, responsively and therapeutically to childhood trauma then we will continue to have adults with mental health, drug and alcohol and relationship issues.
I support the ongoing provision of evidence based respectful relationships programs in schools – especially since I was responsible for their original introduction into ACT high schools in 2009 when I was managing the Rape Crisis Centre.
I support the need for accessible, affordable, quality childcare and early childhood education and will advocate for the needs of families and workers. Similarly, opportunities for young people to be able to participate is a good and solid investment in our future.
Lastly, having managed the Office for Women for a period, I can say that it needs to be elevated to ensure that gender issues are considered across government.
What is the change that you are passionate about seeing in Canberra?
I want to see equal opportunity to safe and affordable housing, reliable public transport, and high-quality education and health services.
Other priorities are a cleaner environment, an ACT Government that promotes active participation and genuine engagement with and respect for the contributions of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
I want to see a vibrant city that values its diversity in all its forms, where people from all walks of life are valued, because that is what will make Canberra connected and the best place in Australia to build a life and a home.