Friday, November 10, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
I am a single mum, in my 40s, with two primary school-aged kids.
I was approached to run for public office when they were only toddlers. I named all the reasons under the sun why I didn’t belong as a councillor.
But I do.
My experience, not only as a mother with a young family, but an individual with layers of knowledge from the health and resources sectors, brought a unique perspective to the council chamber. My influence has directly resulted in outcomes that may have been unseen; missed opportunities for my community.
I am a firm believer that “many different flowers maketh a bouquet”. Going are the days of only older, white men making the decisions for all. People want to look to their leaders and see themselves around the table. When there is depth and diversity among our leaders, the whole community benefits from their collective decision making.
Intergenerational depth is important and I’m not suggesting our older, white men no longer belong. We need their wisdom, as much as we need the insights and experiences of people with a disability, people from a non-English speaking background, an Indigenous voice and a range of generational perspectives.
Our region may be an anomaly in terms of female representation (two thirds of our mayors are female; two thirds of our councils have more than 50 per cent female representation; two thirds of our state members are female, and half of our federal members are female). But maintaining the pipeline is always challenging.
Women for Election is a national, non-partisan organisation on a mission to increase the number of women running for public office in Australia. They are travelling around the country to deliver training designed to inspire and equip more women to run for public office.
The Mackay workshop will be held on November 14 and more information can be found here: wfe.org.au/equip-power-edition-mackay
In my opinion, a great councillor is curious, has the ability to see the bigger picture and has exceptional communication skills. You do not need an economic or legal background, or years running your own business. Councillors are guided by experts, and by the voice of their community. Like any role, you learn on the job, growing with every new experience.
If I have inspired you to contemplate running for office in the 2024 elections, reach out for a chat if you’d like to know more about my experience in local government.
Councillor Michelle Green
Mackay Regional Council