I live with my partner and son in Bellerive and my parents live in Lindisfarne. Growing up in different parts of Tasmania, I experienced the benefits of close-knit communities. But I also witnessed the despair that arises from a lack of jobs. Access to health, education and critical services varied from suburb to suburb, town to town. From a young age it troubled me that there were people who were struggling and missing out on the opportunities I had. I have always wanted to make a difference in their lives; it shouldn’t be someone else’s problem.
As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s one of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me was confidence. Confidence in the belief that if I worked hard, I could do anything and be anything I wanted. When I was in grade 10, I was awarded the science prize, but my teacher told my mum he didn’t want to award it to a girl. That didn’t seem fair or reasonable to me. I will always fight for equal opportunity and respect for all.
For much of my working life as a health practitioner, a community leader and a public servant, I’ve become very aware of the shortfalls of the health system. To see firsthand a system stripped to its bare bones under the Hodgman government is one of many reasons I’m standing for election. We must invest more in preventative health to keep people out of hospital. Every Tasmanian should be able to get access to health care when and where they need it.
It is because of my compassion for people that I am also a strong supporter of safe voluntary assisted dying laws. I believe it is time for Tasmanians, suffering intolerable pain, to be given the right to end their own life surrounded by the people they love.
There is still a lot of work to be done to lift educational outcomes in Tasmania, so that all children get the most out of their education and prepare for the workforce. I want parents to have the support and jobs they need to provide hope and opportunities for their children. I want to restore pathway planning in our schools so that our young people can have a proper pathway from school to work, and we must rebuild TAFE with proper consultation with industry, so that young Tasmanians have better opportunities.
I helped to establish The Smith Family in Tasmania, supporting disadvantaged children and their families to create better futures through education. As well as expanding literacy and mentoring programs to support 3,000 school aged children statewide, I introduced a scholarship program that provides financial assistance and personal support to over 520 of those children.
I will work with Rebecca White and the Labor team to tackle the roots of inequality, create more jobs, improve Tasmania’s health and education systems, and share my belief of a more inclusive and supportive community.