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The overwhelming, complicated & misrepresented world of state politics


Armed with three seasons of ABC’s “Utopia”, social media posts, snippets of news stories and the uninformed opinions of friends and family… it was safe to say that I went into Our Democracy at Work program day, as an expert on all things State Government… how thoroughly and embarrassingly naïve I was.

What struck home for me was our discussion with the Hon Colin Brooks MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and Steph Ryan MP, Deputy Leader of the Nationals. Colin and Steph broke my preconceptions of what a political member was and represented. Colin was a down to earth “sparky” with a passion for his local community. He discussed his journey into politics, the relevance of his job as Speaker and even shared a fun fact about a tradition of when speakers are elected…granted, less forcefully than it was in early times from which this tradition came from. Steph Ryan was grounded,  compassionate, passionate and determined stepping up as a leader to be a voice for regional Victoria. Surprisingly, she never had plans to pursue a career in politics…this was not what I had thought our politicians were. These were regular people! They are like me, my work mates, my friend sand my family. There was a theme emerging!

By the end of the day, I realised that my view of the Victorian state political system had been thoroughly skewed by my environment. These members had shown instances of passion, vulnerability, strength, frustration, sadness and empathy. Most importantly, they were standing up as leaders to be the voice of their community. Maybe it’s easy for us to blame our members when times are tough or when our community isn’t as great as we had hoped it to be… or maybe, it’s time for us to get involved, to use our voice, and if we feel unheard, to do what our local members have done, and take a courageous step forward and represent our community as a state member – a Leader.


I would like to thank Andres Lomp, Community Engagement Manager, and the tour guides at the Parliament of Victoria, Amy Mackintosh, Philip Stoits and Patrick Boribon for their Virtual Tour of both the Legislative Assembly and Council Chambers (Lower and Upper House), Robert McDonald, Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, and Keir Delaney, Assistant Clerk Procedure of the Legislative Council, for the informative session on the workings of the Victorian Parliament, the Honourable Colin Brooks MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, MP Steph Ryan, Deputy leader of the Nationals, and Roma Britnell MP, Member for South West Coast, for sharing their journeys and experience in politics. You have all given us an inciteful and engaging representation of the history, traditions, procedures and people that make up our State Government.

Aaron Leddin, 2021 Program Participant


We Are Hiring!


Are you looking for your next leadership opportunity? Do you have an enthusiastic and flexible leadership style? Are you passionate about contributing to your community in a challenging role that will utilise your strategic thinking, broad networks, and strong social intelligence skills?

Look no further!

We have full time Executive Officer role available supporting emerging leaders to develop their leadership skills, building leadership capacity across the Great South Coast region.

This is a fulfilling and rewarding role that will allow you to contribute back to your community in a meaningful way.

Sounds like you! We strongly encourage you to call 0408627066 to discuss the opportunity further before putting in an application.

Applications Close 10am 20 September 2021


The Education Pathway, but which path?


“Me fail English, that umpossible”. These are the words of the animated character Ralph Wiggum from the TV series The Simpsons. I would often joke, and quote this in high school as I was not, in any way, a good English student. Humor was a way that I was able to redirected people from laughing at me to laughing with me, or so I thought. It’s clear that the “main” path of education is by completing year 12 VCE and going onto university. As soon as your step off that path you’re lost. “I stepped off the path”.

As Michael Absalom from the Jobs and Skills Centre pointed out, why is it if you don’t finish year 12 VCE and want to go to university you’re on an “alternative” path? Why is VCAL, TAFE or a fantastic and supportive school like WAVE school the “alternative”? Am I a lesser person because I did not take the main path? This is what kids like me hear and feel when these types of pathways are talked about as the alternative or lesser option.

We are told time and time again to get a good job we need to finish Year 12 VCE and go to University. We know from both Andrew Hardiman, Jobs, Skills & Pathways Manager – Department of Education and Training and previous speaker Simon Kuestenmacher, a Top 50 Demographer in the world, that those who do complete Year 12 VCE and go on to complete a university degree will have a higher income, but does this necessarily coincide to happiness or work life balance?

The Senior Secondary Schooling Pathway Reform is well underway and working towards ensuring all students have equal access and every opportunity to reach their potential taking the best path for them.

The complexity of the education system and how to navigate it is a difficult conversation, but a conversation we all should be having.

We would like to thank our passionate and informative speakers at the Skilling our Region for the Future program day, Kate Roache – Executive Officer Beyond the Bell, Damien Farley – Principal WAVE school, with former WAVE students Kree Square and Monique English, Michael Absalom – Careers Practitioner – Skills & Job Centre and Andrew Hardiman – Jobs, Skills & Pathways Manager – Department of Education and Training.

Lynden Brown, 2021 Program Participants


New leader for Food Share


LGSC Media Release 24 August 2021

After nine years at the helm of Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC), Amanda Hennessy has this week announced she is taking up a new challenge as Warrnambool and District Food Share’s new Executive Officer.

Ms Hennessy will remain in the LGSC Executive Officer role part-time until the end of 2021, splitting her time between the two organisations.

In 2022, she plans to step up her volunteer involvement with start-up Loved & Shared – a not-for-profit organisation based on the highly successful St Kilda Mums model.

LGSC Board Chair Karen Foster said Amanda had been instrumental in shaping the regional leadership program since its inception nine years ago.

“In her time as our Executive Officer, Amanda has built and shaped the program into a truly life-changing experience for the more than 150 leaders who have thus far graduated from Leadership Great South Coast,” Ms Foster said.

“We are in the strong position we are today in no small part due to her professionalism, her drive and her complete dedication to her work.

“Amanda will be greatly missed, but our Board also appreciates that this is an exciting opportunity for her to continue with her influential community work.”

Ms Hennessy said she was excited to take up the challenge of spearheading the increasingly important work of Food Share across the region.

“I am passionate about supporting our region into the Covid-19 recovery phase and I’m looking forward to doing this in my new role at Food Share.”

Ms Hennessy officially steps into the role on September 1. LGSC is set to embark upon a search for her replacement this month.



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