Over the last few weeks of my life I’ve met with thousands of our town’s residents. It has been a huge privilege for me to talk with you all – about your lives, your dreams, your concerns – and also to learn about what you want from your Mayor and Council.
In this campaign, I’ve looked beyond left-wing and right-wing alignment. Interestingly, despite all the different conversations I’ve had, there are a number of consistently important issues to residents of this town.
So I’ve decided to provide some detail on the top 5 discussion points here for everyone to see:
1. YES, I STAND FOR STRONG FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT & GOOD GOVERNANCE.
- I understand good-governance and financial management. Over the last 10 years of my life I have worked with million dollar budgets and sat on numerous boards, both local and national.
- I have coordinated projects across regional Australia and have helped build numerous local ideas into sustainable enterprises for our region.
- I have helped grow a small local music festival into a major tourism event that now supports local business and artists. I know how to support and foster great events.
- I will back the decisions that save residents money – such as paying off loans or achieving efficiency through innovation.
- I will work hard to ensure our Council doesn’t raise rates beyond CPI. We must stop treating the ratepayers like the goose that lays an endless supply of golden eggs.
- I will work hard to support Council enterprise. We’ve seen the success of this and it needs to be supported.
- Every day I will get up and work hard using my skills and networks to make this special town a better place.
2. YES, I WILL DO SOMETHING ABOUT YOUTH RELATED ISSUES.
Where is all the discussion about youth related matters now? Which candidates are talking honestly to you the residents of Alice Springs about this matter? What a shame!
I promised you it would be part of my agenda – and I am going to stay true to that commitment.
We need a new narrative for youth related issues in Alice Springs. Yes, we have challenges we must address and there are obviously limits to what Council can do. But Council can and should provide strong leadership on this matter.
This is what I will do if I am given the opportunity to provide strong leadership for our town on this matter:
- I will start by supporting some kind of policy position for kids under 12. I’ve put a lot of time thinking about this matter. Put all the debate about this pros and cons of the language and use of the word ‘curfew’ to one side. I’ve been out during the recent school holiday crime spike. If kids under 12 are out on the street after 11pm, I believe there are sensible ways we should push for adjustments to our system to help ensure these kids get to a safe place for sleep, a feed and warmth. I make this commitment as a starting point to demonstrate that I am serious.
- I will support and foster the community interest in this matter. Let us not let community interest in this matter fall away! A strong supportive community committed to tackling the challenges can make a difference.
- I won’t engage the community without providing clear input and feedback mechanism. I want to bring the whole of the community along for the journey.
- I will clearly communicate back to the community exactly what the local council can do. There are limits to what Council can do. But I know that Council can have strong leadership voice that creates impact on this issue.
- In the areas we can influence I say “let’s target those and put all our best energy into it.”
- I will hold formally facilitated, quarterly engagement and feedback sessions with the community about youth related issues, possibly in alignment with other agencies, groups or associations such as Congress.
- The approach of the volunteer group FOCAS / Positive Loitering group has made a difference. I am committed to ensuring what has been learnt from this strategy is not lost to the community and we can build on this success and approach into the future.
- I will look at inclusive options to support Arrernte and regional cultural considerations. Work more actively at getting a strong Arrernte voice into the conversation and helping us to lead outcomes.
- I absolutely support the premise that when visiting tribes come to Alice Springs that they need to know about a code of conduct – and duty of responsibility and behaviour. Let’s promote the idea of a social contract for Alice Springs built on contemporary Arrernte and modern values.
- I will run a social media campaign that is focused on youth issues. I want to promote a message that encourages youth to see and understand the value and benefit of taking responsibility for ones actions.
- I will be across the findings of the Royal Commission into Youth Detention and act in accordingly where I can to support a better future for our next generation. I will lobby our Territory and Federal Governments to not let this be an exercise in wasting taxpayers money.
3. I WILL NOT SUPPORT CHEAP POLITICAL SMEAR CAMPAIGNS, POLITICAL BULLYING OR THE POLITICS OF DIVISION.
- I draw my strength from Alice Springs residents who know that real success comes through hard work, truth, honesty and integrity of dealings.
- During this campaign a Councillor contender blatantly smeared me in an effort to detract from my candidacy. The evidence of how I’ve handled myself in responding to these attacks is on the public record for all to see.
- I will not stoop to that level now – or on Council. I and the Alice Springs voters I represent are better than that.
- If elected as Mayor, I will be a strong voice that calls out for a higher standard of debate and discussion – in our Council and out there in the community.
- I will always urge Alice Springs leaders and residents to consider the risks of buying into the politics of simple populism. At this important time in our town’s history we need to aspire to something better.
4. YES, I SUPPORT REAL DEBATE & INTELLIGENT DEBATE. I AM NOT USING COUNCIL AS AN IDEALOGICAL PEDASTAL.
- I strongly believe that the best outcomes occur when debate is open and encouraged – and all points of view are heard.
- There are some big picture issues that will need to be navigated carefully in the next Council. Whatever the issue is, I will always go into each discussion with a fresh approach and an open mind. I will analyse the pros, cons and risks of any situation and then stand up strong for what I believe is in this town’s interest.
- I will actively use the community committee process to ensure that Council is drawing from the whole-of-community – and inviting inputs from this town’s best and brightest.
- I will not bring an activist approach to my Council. I will let my ideas and suggestions be judged on their merits. I will endeavour to let truth, reason and common sense win the day.
- I strongly believe that the best Councils should not automatically vote in a bloc. Voters expect and deserve more from their council than this.
- I know that there will be challenges for a person like me if there is a conservative bloc in the 13th Council. Yes, it is true that I do lean to the progressive side of politics, but I have never let politics affect my capacity to build professional relationships and respect with members of my community.
- I strongly believe that the majority of Australians know that there are good people can be found across the political spectrum. I want people to know that I am working for them – to be the type of representative that they can respect – even if they don’t agree with my positions all the time.
- I am not afraid of saying sorry. I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. I want to be a leader – but being a leader means being humble.
- I won’t always get even decision right – but I’ll make sure it take ownership and accountability of my decisions at all times.
5. YES, I BELIEVE IN A SLOW, STEADY and RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO CHANGE.
Throughout this campaign people have talked to me about new ideas and changes – and some express concern about changing things too fast.
- No change can occur without stable foundations. Council is in good shape. I will keep my eye on the fundamentals.
- I will respect the works of those that came before me and honour their legacy.
- Council is made up of over 185 Staff. I will provide clear messaging to them: If I am elected Mayor, they will be supported. Chances are, many are already working for a better Alice -so perhaps they can teach me a few things. I look forward to meeting with you all.
- To grow, sometimes we need to admit that change is needed. That doesn’t need to be scary or something to fear. I will always looks at the risks and the benefits – and where there is uncertainty I will look to hope and articulate a positive vision.
This is what I believe will create a better Alice.
Thanks for your time and consideration of my candiditure.