Recent condolence motions in Parliament have forced me to reflect on the legacy I'm leaving.
Condolence motions continued throughout the day on our first sitting week after the death of former Victorian premier Joan Kirner. Let’s put political allegiances aside for one moment. The reforms Joan championed have left a legacy respected by both sides of the chamber. The creation of Landcare, reforms to the education system leading to our current VCE system and Emily's list. Joan encouraged women to enter politics. She promoted women of all political persuasions and in the broader community.
Truly a great legacy.
People I admire most have created a legacy far beyond and in many cases outside of the field in which they rose to prominence. Recently I attended the Deakin University David Parkin Oration delivered by Jeff Kennett. These are two men I admire greatly, not only for what they achieved in their careers – David as a VFL/AFL premiership captain and four-time premiership coach and Jeff as the 42nd premier of Victoria – but for what they have achieved since.
David Parkin OAM was awarded an honorary doctorate for his work in leadership, sport and education. A prostate cancer survivor and now an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Council, he dedicates a large amount of his time educating men about the need for early detection.
Jeff has adopted a very public role in his position as chairman of Beyond Blue, lifting the stigma attached to mental illness and depression in our community.
Some people will leave a legacy that will not attract such public acclaim but are equally valued in the local community. I recently met Gwen Derrick, the founder and cornerstone of the Wonthaggi Theatre Group. I attended the 2015 production of Pippin and all I can say is what an incredible and lasting legacy Gwen has created.
I split my life into three areas: family, friends and work. Whilst they overlap on many occasions, I make sure I'm spending time in each area. Getting the balance right.
Raising three daughters is challenging at times but the rewards are high. I want them to be strong, resilient, ambitious and take advantage of their opportunities. But above all else respectful and caring. Oh, and barrack for Richmond! So far so good.
My friends have always played an important role in my life. Our group is close knit and many have been friends since primary school. Getting together with mates is always a great time. I often think people can be judged by the friends they keep.
Finally, work. I’ve always enjoyed working. As an accountant I worked with a small group of business clients and experienced at first hand the risk and rewards of business ownership. Certainly being a Member of Parliament has presented a new set of challenges but essentially the principals of dealing with people and developing relationships have remained the same.
As for my legacy? The area where I want to have the greatest impact is reducing the incidence of family violence in our community, in particular men’s violence against women. It’s a serious problem throughout the entire electorate and is the key reason I became an ambassador for the White Ribbon Foundation.
Whatever your legacy, I hope it makes you and others around you proud.