It’s a privilege to be Labor’s candidate for Hartley – a community I’ve been proud to call home for the past 13 years. My wife Evie grew up in the house we now live in – we are deeply connected to this area, and there’s nowhere else we’d rather raise our family.
My dad has been a plumber and gasfitter for nearly 50 years – now well into his 60s, he still works full time running his own business. My mum went to teaching college and worked as a teacher before my brother and I came along, but she transitioned to relief teaching so she could dedicate more time to raising us. As a result, our finances were sometimes tight growing up, but my parents are both determined people. They taught me the values of hard work, fairness and equality – my brother and I had to work and earn our own money to get what we wanted in life, but mum and dad always supported us in the ways that mattered most.
My brother and I were the first in our family to go to university. My parents would still have been proud if we had both ended up in trades like my dad, but they wanted us to have the opportunity to choose our own path in life. They knew a good education was crucial to that opportunity, so they worked hard to send us to a Lutheran school. They taught us social responsibility and the belief that there’s dignity in every type of work – but that professional careers shouldn’t be an unattainable dream for working class kids like us.
I’m now a practicing psychologist, but my working life started when I was 14 years old. My first job was working as a bottle sorter at a recycling plant during summer holidays. Throughout high school and university I worked in retail, as a meter reader, at a cinema, and grocery night fill.
At age 20, an old football injury was getting worse from the heavy lifting that night fill required, and I ended up needing a shoulder reconstruction. Because I couldn’t work for three months, I was made redundant – but I didn’t even get informed by management that they’d sacked me, I only found out when I called HR about some tax details. I was stunned. At a young age, I had the experience of losing my job as a result of injury. This experience opened my eyes to the struggles that injured and vulnerable workers go through.
I am the Deputy CEO and a practicing psychologist in a family business that’s grown to three clinics in metro Adelaide and two regional satellite offices serving the Victor Harbor and Kangaroo Island communities. My client work is mostly in the areas of child psychology, homelessness and disability, but I also have a strong interest in regional mental health. I worked in Kingscote every fortnight for 18 months providing psychology services to the community after the devastating 2020 bushfires. My role has also given me the opportunity to participate in the St Vinnie’s annual CEO sleepout for the homeless, and as a team we have been fortunate to be recognised for excellence in innovation, collaborative care and improving access to mental health services.
I’m driven by a strong desire to stand up and advocate for those in our community who are struggling. Working in mental health has enabled me to understand how much better our systems could function in supporting vulnerable people. I often work with and alongside government departments, and it has given me a perspective on how policy influences people’s lives – especially children in the child protection system and people experiencing homelessness. I see firsthand how our systems and institutions could do so much more to end the cycles of disadvantage and suffering. I welcome the opportunity to stand up for our most vulnerable members of the community by contributing my knowledge and experience to policy development.
I’m also inspired by a passion for education as a crucial driver of opportunity. In my own life I have seen the transformative power of education. Every South Australian child deserves to have all the options that my parents worked hard to create for me and my brother. Many of my clients are children, and I see how our education system can either benefit or hinder children, depending on their circumstances.
As a mental health professional, I know that a healthy community is a strong and prosperous community. That’s why ensuring top quality healthcare and mental health care services in our state must be a top priority of government. If elected as your Member of Parliament, it will be my priority to ensure that our community is served by a high quality, well-resourced health system, and that no South Australians have to wait for, or go without, necessary medical care.
During my free time I like to play tennis at a local club, visit the Magill Sunrise Markets whenever they’re on, stroll over to Mario’s corner with my wife Evie to grab a bite to eat, and take walks along the Torrens at Paradise. We live in Glynde with our two cats, a grumpy old ragdoll called Wilbur and a very energetic tabby called Churro.
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