When positive politics prevails

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By Cr Ogy Simic

This year’s local government election was a hotly contested and respectful contest of ideas, and I would like to firstly thank and congratulate successful and unsuccessful candidates. I would also like to thank the thousands of you who opened your doors to me to share your ideas about what should shape the next four years in Port Phillip.

As the Greens candidate for Gateway, I offered what might be seen as a fairly predictable agenda centring on enhancement of local liveability, preservation of our natural environment and social equality for all residents. As the vote count concluded, I was delighted to learn that these messages resonated with the community, the majority of whom entrusted me with their first vote in Gateway Ward.

As someone who travelled to Australia as a refugee at a young age, and who has enjoyed an environment of acceptance and inclusion throughout my personal and professional life, I’ve been confronted with feelings of anger and disbelief as political candidates within Australia and abroad have sought to use divisiveness and fear as political tools to gain power.

But in Port Phillip we rejected the concept of exclusionary politics because as a community, we recognise that we are more resilient when we are united. That when we mobilise around hope and opportunity instead of fear and desperation, we create an environment conducive to collaboration, innovation and equality.

One of my highlights of this election campaign, was spending time meeting with the residents of Park Towers in South Melbourne. The stories shared were diverse and the backgrounds varied, but the messages and priorities were familiar. Residents want to feel safe, to have access to good local services, and to be able to enjoy clean public areas with their families. And I will work hard to ensure that these basic expectations are met.

As your newly elected local councillor, I will work to ensure that all residents from diverse groups – Aboriginal, LGBTIQ, CALD groups and people with disabilities – are listened to, and their perspectives reflected in council decisions.

Here in Australia we are privileged to enjoy a stable democracy, compulsory voting and a safe environment to share views and ideas without fear of persecution.

I will never take our democracy for granted, and will strive to inspire greater understanding of our local democratic institutions. I invite you to come along to a council meeting or to give me a call if you’d like to understand more about the work that we are doing to ensure that Port Phillip remains a wonderful place to live, work, play and raise a family.

It’s a privilege to have been elected and I look forward to working hard to progress the common interests of our community.

 

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