By Jo Siejka MLC
Member for Pembroke
AS an elected representative, it is vital to ensure there are opportunities for the community to contribute directly to decision making, and this means being proactive in reaching out to hear the concerns and ideas of those whom we represent.
I have learnt the value of consultation, collaboration and compromise throughout my career, particularly while on the boards of peak body organisations.
These organisations need to be able to consult with their members in a variety of ways in order to represent their concerns and ideas, just like members of Parliament.
The community expects us, as elected members, to represent its views and lead with integrity in order to create a strong, stable Tasmania.
Public representation is only effective if we connect with people and if people let us know their concerns.
The only way we can achieve this is by working with our community members and genuinely listening to their concerns and ideas.
If we are to work in isolation as elected representatives, it creates an environment for adversarial decision making.
I believe consultation is an essential skill as an elected member, which is why I am so passionate about meeting regularly with my constituents.
I’ve been actively meeting with as many people in the community as possible in order to make sure that I know what issues are of concern to local people.
This has included meeting with young people on key issues at local schools, such as Bellerive Primary School and Eastside Lutheran College, who have shared input with the Legislative Council.
I believe it’s important people of all ages and backgrounds can contribute, and that engaging and empowering young people in the decision-making process will encourage them to be active citizens throughout their life.
I’ve also tried to bring the Parliament to the people by inviting community groups into Parliament to ensure the issues we discuss are relevant and relate to them, such as the Lindisfarne Riverside Arts Club.
Ensuring we are available to the community and actively make efforts to build these connections will also contribute to open and transparent government, because when people know what their members are doing and how they can engage with them, then greater contributions and connections result.
In line with my passion for open government, I am now chairing the Transparency Committee for the Labor Party, and this will bring a greater level of scrutiny in the future.
Caption: Member for Pembroke Jo Siejka with students from Bellerive Primary School.