With only a couple of thousand provisional and declaration votes left to count, a big congratulations to Damian Drum on becoming the new member for Murray. I'm sitting on 1440 votes, equating to 1.66% of the vote - pretty exciting given nobody knew I existed 3 months ago! I used to think politicians - and others - were speaking from an alternate orifice when they said being elected was a 'humbling experience'. Whilst I wasn't elected, I now understand that feeling.
It's been another busy week - on Monday (July 11) I attended an RAR Euroa meeting. I didn't realise it was a committee meeting until I arrived, I'm very grateful to the group for allowing me to sit in and learn more about their current and future projects. I then went to a forum organised by Strathbogie Voices where Cr Simone Rushby from Wyndham/East Kimberley Shire spoke - via skype - of her experiences with council, both before and after she was elected.
On Tuesday (July 12), I had a chat with a few locals - including the owner of "The Middle" Hotel in Euroa about his plans and hopes for economic development/jobs in our corner of the electorate. I then travelled to Tongala with Fern Summer to attend what I thought was a Victorian Farmers Federation Presidential Candidate's Forum - but only Wade Northausen showed up.
There were quite a few people in the crowd that seem likely to join the VFF if he's elected, so it'll be interesting to see what happens next weekend at their election. I got to meet a couple of people in person that I'd previously met online, which was good. In the end Glenn McCormack, Cr John Zobec, Fern Summer, Wade and I sat around chatting until we realised it was 12:30am and we all had early starts the following morning...
My early start on Wednesday (July 13) was to be interviewed on the Strathbogie Voices Radio Hour on Seymour FM 103.9, a big thank you to Ruth for the invitation. Later I attended another VFF Candidate's Forum in Wangaratta, attended by both Presidential and both Vice-Presidential candidates. It was good to be in the audience of such an event, rather than behind the microphone!
I was surprised that David Jochinke seemed to have little information about the issues faced by irrigators and dairy farmers, especially given he's the current Vice-President. I felt Wade Northausen from the GV and Emma Germano from Gippsland were the stand out candidates. They have very different styles, but both have diverse knowledge of farming across Victoria and both recognise that the VFF needs to do better than it has been when it comes to holding politicians to account. The other two candidates know a lot about grain, but not a lot about other Ag sectors.
On Thursday (July 14) I attended a public consultation event, held by Victorian Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson, and her team who are preparing to write a Gender Equality Framework for our state. It was excellent to hear so many people from different backgrounds and agencies discussing ideas and sharing stories. It was also really exciting to be able to put my concerns about psychological and financial abuse currently having no redress.
On Friday (and in between the events above) I've been researching local government. I've all but decided to run for Strathbogie Shire Council in October so I can both apply everything I've learnt during the federal campaign, and gain further experience in representation and governance.
Today (July 16) I'm back at work - a bit of normalcy returning to life.