As both the Liberal and Labor Party role out a suite of commercials in the midst of the State Government Election on March 15, I ask residents across the state but in Unley particularly to consider nominating themselves for the upcoming Local Government election. We need to wipe the stigma off local government and ensure it is seen in its proper light, as a forum for local decisions to be made which engender community spirit and enables improvements to our collective quality of life. We need to clear a path free from hatred so that good people feel welcomed and encouraged to take up Civic Leadership roles as after all, “In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve” (Ales de Tocqueville).
Australian’s more than almost every other society loves the little guy, the underdog, the battler. Conversely Australian’s have a suspicion of leaders and an almost famous ability to tear down those people in positions of power. I personally agree with the general thrust of this sentiment and argue that it is needed but the mad-dog group mentality which has pervaded the general and collective psyche has, I believe, rendered too many good people afraid to take the plunge into political life. Indeed, I sometimes despair at the possibility that this group think hatred towards leadership has filtered down too far into the tiers of society so that we often hear of school, church, sporting and community councils that are struggling to get their membership to take on necessary executive positions such as Chair, Treasurer and Secretary.
The pressures of life are great enough. Family must always come first followed by a secure job. That third dimension of life, the ability to volunteer and give back selflessly is not a luxury of time that everyone has.
Local Government is all enabling people to be champions for their community. To serve a term as a Councillor takes 4 years and involves attending one Full Council meeting a month and spending about 8 – 15 hours a week reading material and visiting residents or liaising with staff.
I can attest to it being a thoroughly worthwhile and fulfilling endevour. We have a wonderful group of Elected Members (Councillors) on Unley at the moment who serve the community very sincerely and capably. If you are thinking of nominating then I encourage you to look further into it; as through your passion and input we will see an infussion of new ideas. “Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve” (George Bernard Shaw) but with you, perhaps we can be governed better than we ought.
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Just as an aside, I hold the view about the need for continual change in the poeple who hold power, not so much because I believe that power corrupts but because the injection of new ideas, passion and political persuasion must have a natural gate through which to enter into the halls of power that opens freely and not at the point of a sword or firing of a gun.