My wife Bronwyn and I share our time between Pakenham and Cowes, where we enjoy family time with our three adult children, three grandchildren and our dog, Caesar.
As many older residents may know, I’m a draper by trade and as a small business owner, I ran six shops across four locations. During this time, I was also the lead singer in a band. Both served me well as they taught me a lot about people, hard choices and commitment, all of which helped prepare me for a future in politics.
In 1980 I was elected as a local councillor in the Pakenham Shire Council. My six years in local government, including a one-year stint as Shire president, honed my skills and understanding about the importance of working collaboratively across local, state and federal governments.
I was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 for the seat of Corinella. I narrowly lost the 1993 election but in 1996 was successful in gaining election to the seat of McMillan. In 1998 I again lost the seat of McMillan but returned in 2004. I have been representing you since then in this electorate now known as Monash.
What I find most fulfilling is meeting the people of Monash, hearing their personal stories and incorporating them in my contribution to the federal parliament.
You’d be surprised at the effect they can have on other members of parliament. People remember stories and they often play a powerful role in influencing policy development.
My involvement across the small business, aged care and disability sectors for more than 50 years has equipped me with the experience, compassion and drive to advocate strongly on these matters. In recent times I’ve taken a stand against independent assessments for those in the NDIS and the potential privatisation of ACAT. I’ve also called for increased respect, safety and justice for women and equitable financial support for residents and businesses in regional Victoria affected by the pandemic lockdowns.
I’m nothing if not persistent, some may say determined, but that is what’s needed when swimming against the tide. I’ve had to do this on several occasions because I believed it was the right thing to do for the people of Monash.
In short, I’m passionate about speaking out for those who are most in need, because they are often overlooked.
The past 18 months have been like no other and I will continue to advocate for the health and wellbeing of Monash residents. It’s been a privilege to be your representative during these very difficult times and I encourage you to contact my office if I can assist you with any matters of concern.