When I grew up in the late 70s my father lectured in accounting at TAFE, and later headed up their School of Business Studies. My mother, the daughter of a Public Service bookkeeper, used her education to return to work as an office administrator and manager, when Bob Hawke’s labour reforms supported employment opportunities for mothers. Both grandmothers were homemakers and taught my sister and I kindness and generosity.
Thanks to the good jobs education provided, my parents built a comfortable life for our family. They were very conscious of the opportunities that high-quality and free university education created. They taught me to believe in equality of choice for all, as well as the tremendous power of education as the key to a meaningful future.
Growing up in the Adelaide Hills, I enjoyed the outdoor freedom of an Australian childhood filled with bike riding, swimming and camping. I played volleyball at Heathfield High School and studied an undergraduate degree in History. Seeking adventure, I worked overseas in business journalism and trade, and also met my husband. We spent several years living overseas together, and although we cherished the adventure, it made coming home to Adelaide that much sweeter for me. We settled in the Eastern Foothills in 2005 and we love raising our three children in this extraordinary part of the world. My kids all attend our local public school and we love to get out and about in nature with our curious Beagle, Cibo.
As a mother with young children, I went back to university to study counselling and family therapy, and have been working since 2007 in the community services sector. I have found enormous value in supporting many South Australians facing difficult circumstances. I have witnessed families, particularly abuse survivors, navigate systems with their own resourcefulness and determination. In working alongside SAPOL, Child Protection authorities, the family court system and other government and non-government agencies, I’ve learned a great deal about how our systems and institutions can support people – as well as how we can do better. These experiences have given me a strong understanding of how profoundly government policy influences the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
As a representative for the people of Sturt, my key priorities would be to protect and strengthen our health and education systems to ensure a better future for our whole community. Protecting Medicare, supporting high quality and timely delivery of health services right across our health system, and ensuring that no South Australian must wait for, or go without, necessary healthcare services – these are urgent priorities for me. During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I offered my skills as a first response counsellor on the SA Covid Mental Health Support Line. As a professional, as a parent and as a person, I deeply understand how difficult this period has been in our lives. It continues to be so, for many in our community.
In our education system, ensuring the funding to support high quality education, from preschool through to TAFE, community and tertiary education, is my priority. A range of options in education provides opportunity for people at every stage of life – whether they are entering or re-entering the workforce, arriving as new migrants, or seeking a change of career. Populating our workforce with the skills our industries need will help us to create a resilient economy and navigate our way out of the pandemic into a strong and sustainable future.
My personal values of openness, honesty and integrity mean that I understand the importance of listening to my community. My ambition is to work toward ensuring that all South Australians are supported and taken care of. A government that listens to people can make a real and tangible difference – not just in the lives of our most vulnerable, but in all our lives. It would be my significant privilege to provide caring, compassionate and genuine representation for our wonderful Sturt community.