On the evening of Tuesday 10th November, the council of Greater Bendigo was installed. This was the short speech I gave.
First, I thank my family and friends and all those who contributed to my campaign, especially my wife Kylie, who encouraged me into standing for council. It is no small thing to be a local councillor, and I am grateful and a little overwhelmed by the support I have received.
Second, I hope that the coming term of this council will be characterised by a healthy democratic spirit, formed by democratic habits like:
- respectful disagreement
- leadership as servanthood
- listening closely to those we serve
- principled decision making
- robust compromise
- receiving loss graciously
I first learnt these habits in sporting pursuits and debating teams. And they were strengthened around the dinner table of my large and noisy family, through being given leadership responsibility in my childhood church, and seeing my parents and extended family involved in the civic world.
So I encourage all those in our wider community to get involved in our local democracy.
That doesn’t have to mean running for public office, but it does mean getting involved with others for the good of our city in small and large ways. Join a committee or club, write a letter, meet your local representatives, talk to your neighbours about local issues, get on the school council. Don’t leave our democracy to the professionals, or just those people who get elected.
Finally, I look forward to representing the Whipstick Ward and working for the good of the whole of Bendigo, and hope that I can honour the trust that the people of Bendigo have placed in me. Thank you.
If you would like to watch the video of this ceremony, the link is here.