My family and I moved to Hampton from WA at the beginning of the century. We sought to find somewhere to live that was close to work and the city, near the railway line for our sons to easily get to school, and close to the Bay. At the beginning of 2000, Hampton was a little quieter than it is now - more like the forgotten middle child between the siblings of Brighton and Sandringham. It also reminded us of our inner-city suburb in Perth that was close to the Swan River, filled with bigger blocks and weatherboards.
When we downsized a few years ago, we would not think of another place to which to shift. We feel so connected with the community: Hampton Street with its cafes, proximity to the everchanging Port Phillip Bay, and a quick train ride into the City – a wonderful lifestyle.
We arrived in Victoria in 2000 when I was appointed to the role of Head of St Michael’s Grammar School in St Kilda. It was a wonderful 18-year tenure. When I finished at St Michael’s, I spent 2 years as CEO of The Song Room, a national for-purpose organization delivering professional mentoring programmes in Arts Learning to teachers in high needs communities.
I am currently on the Board of Skyline Education Foundation, which supports VCE students who have high ability or are gifted and/or academically talented, but who may be at risk of leaving the school system early as they deal with financial hardship, emotional, family and other challenges. I am also the Chair of Council of Trinity Grammar School Kew.
I have become concerned about the increasingly binary nature of politics where both of the major parties define their views as an antithesis of the other’s. Parliamentary representatives are expected to adopt their party’s position, regardless of whether or not it reflects the mood and views of their electorate.
Politics, and thereby government, has become more adversarial, with a singular focus on retaining power at all costs at the next election. Rather than mapping an inclusive vision that positions Australia as a vibrant knowledge economy and a leader in its progressive policies in education, social justice and climate change, our politicians seem hell-bent on leading us to a two-dimensional and short-sighted future driven by their individual self-interest rather than the collective good of the community.
The last 18 months and the appalling inaction of the Federal Government in managing both quarantine and the vaccination roll-out are stark examples of an absence of national leadership and effective, strategic governance.
We desperately need more independent voices in Canberra who will better and more effectively represent the views and perspectives of their electorates and who can therefore act as ethical checks and balances on the actions of the governing party. In the words of the late (and great) Don Chipp: “We need to keep the bastards honest”.
One of the oft deployed terms by the party that wins government is that by winning 51% of the two-party preferred vote they have a “mandate” from the people. This is risible: there is still a substantial proportion who hold different views and not everyone agrees with every decision made or policy defined by the elected government. We need much greater levels of nuance, sensitivity and understanding from our political leaders. Life is not black and white, but a rich spectrum of experience.
Goldstein is a remarkably diverse and culturally rich electorate. Many within Goldstein are also socially progressive, committed to social justice issues, and concerned about the increasing impacts of climate change. We demand a voice in Canberra that champions our views; we need a representative who will courageously argue for those who have limited agency rather than simply join in with a partisan chorus; we deserve a voice in parliament that will give us a positive vision for the future.
I am very excited at the possibility of Goldstein being represented by someone who understands the community and who will act on our behalf and not the doctrinaire demands of a party machine.
This is what real democracy should be.
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