10 September 2020
Therese is running for the Canberra Progressives in the electorate of Kurrajong (Inner-North and Inner-South). She brings previous campaign experience having run in last year’s federal election. We caught up with her to hear how 2020 is going and what minor parties can bring to the election campaign.
What can you tell us about yourself and how you’ve found being on the hustings so far?
I am a soccer-playing grandmother, former senior public servant, current international development specialist, and active member of the Canberra community. I love reading, movies, music, sport, art – all of which makes me a handy person to have on a pub quiz team! (Speaking of which, I’ve been a winning contestant on TV quiz shows The Chase and Pointless [modest cough].)
Having stood at the federal election in 2019 I can say the 2020 hustings have been a completely different experience. I’ve had to be a lot savvier with social and electronic media. However, feedback from people has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. People can see the ACT is a great place to live but it can be better, with more thoughtful decision-making based on genuine community engagement.
What motivated you to run as a candidate for the election?
It’s easy to whinge about politics and politicians. The last dozen podcasts I’ve heard have involved thoughtful and intelligent people lamenting the state of our government, but none of them are putting up their hand to have a go.
With my kids grown up, and with relative financial security, plus plenty of professional and life experience, I’ve thought: actually, I could put my hand up and run as a candidate. Why not give it a go?
Working in international development I’ve seen what happens in countries where governance is weak and corruption is rife. We’re not there now – but we’re on a slippery slope with erosion of transparency and accountability at some of the highest levels here. I’m energetic with a passion to contribute to a better world, starting with my neighbourhood.
What are you hearing from women in your electorate?
There are many issues concerning women in the electorate. There are long-standing concerns for women of all ages, from the availability of quality and affordable childcare to safe and affordable housing for older women who find themselves without adequate superannuation for independent living (especially where their circumstances have changed through separation or divorce). Added to these ongoing stressors, what I’m hearing is fear about an uncertain future and what things will look like in two, 10 and 20 years given the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 which have a different impact on women than on men.
Sometimes we forget that Canberra isn’t just a public service town with secure jobs! There are women whose livelihoods depend on income from small businesses which now have more pressures than ever before.
YWCA Canberra’s election platform prioritises three key policy themes; safe, secure and affordable housing, preventing violence against women and valuing early childhood education – how do you believe we can achieve these outcomes in the next Assembly?
The Assembly’s members are essentially servants of the public who should be accountable to the public for its plans and actions. If we commit to making something happen, we must make it happen and report this to constituents. These three policy themes are vitally important, and there is no reason why these ambitions can’t be achieved. It just takes strong leadership, resourcing, and allocating responsibility to make it happen. These policy themes are among those I would take up with energy and passion.
We can achieve these outcomes in the next Assembly if we have a good Government balanced with a strong group of opposition and crossbench members who demand action. I think the Progressives can offer some fresh ideas and energy beyond the same old Labor/Liberal/Green Assembly.