This is a pretty big step, right, to choose to put yourself out there, to put your hand up and say that you think that you should represent the people of Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West and even a bit of Fitzroy North. A lot of soul searching goes into the decision, will I be able to live up to the task? Do I have the know how? Am I ultimately ready? And to those questions, it's yes. It's a yes; because I believe that public service requires a level of self doubt, However the only thing I'm not in doubt about is how important the job is.
These are the three main points they have led me to make this herculean decision.
1. The need for independent councillors - we see stories, almost daily, in the media of the political parties ripping into each other and tearing themselves to pieces in pursuit of their ideological goal. Whilst this is a very noble thing at its heart, in reality, it causes inaction, stalemates and solutions that are never forth coming, and ultimately, ignores the needs and wants of the constituents they swear to serve.
Being a independent councillor for the South Ward will allow me to make decisions based on their merit and the need of the community. I don't have to be held back by party dogma or petty in-fights that seems to abound in the bureaucratic and seemingly undemocratic processes of the major parties.
2. Being young and full of life - Maybe at the age of 34 I'm not considered that young, however in political terms I'm a veritable babe in the woods. This doesn't mean that I lack experience in leadership positions. In my career I’ve managed large teams, created and developed training programmes, been responsible for relationships with important business stakeholders and created new processes within budgets and time frames.
I believe in working pragmatically to get things done, building relationships, hearing all sides of the story and making decisions that are in the best interests of the community. This should be the default manner in which all councillors take up the task of serving on council.
3. Public Service – Having worked in private business for the majority of my career I can say that whilst it fulfils the needs of individuals (and shareholders) I'm not sure it necessarily works towards a better society. The greatest sense of purpose I have felt is in my volunteer ‘career’ – having worked with young people to develop leadership skills for the past 15 years and taught me that giving back is a gift. I see being an elected representative as a public service. Councillors are there to serve the people that they represent. Put simply, I want to give back to the community that has given me so much, I feel safe and accepted here, and what gay man could have said that 50 years ago. To be able to serve and make people feel as safe and accepted as I am would be a great honour.
I recognise it's not an easy job, I also recognise it's not a job it comes with a manual on how one should act or on how one should make decisions, however I feel that I have a good grounding in working collaboratively with people and in finding solutions that people can benefit from.
It's gonna be a ride, I hope that you want to come with me.