Tara's Thoughts

Frequently Asked Questions

September 29, 2016

What follows is a short overview of my most frequently asked questions! Am I missing anything? E-mail me to let me know. 

When is the ACT election?

Saturday, 15 October 2016. Pre-polling starts on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 (Monday is a public holiday) at the Belconnen Community Centre (this links to a map) and is open 9am-5pm each weekday as well as on Saturday, 8 October.

Where can I get a How to Vote card for Tara?

I have a volunteer helping every single day at pre-poll who can provide you with a How to Vote card (look for someone in a red Tara Cheyne t-shirt!), otherwise you can call me on 0475 086 655 and I’ll get one to you.

Why is Tara’s hair red / did she dye it for the election?

My hair’s red because I went grey (and I mean grey) in my late teens/early 20s. I dyed it red many years ago because I liked it; I’ve always wanted to be a red head. I have no plans to change it.

What sort of surname is Cheyne? How do I pronounce it?

It’s answered here.

Where does Tara live? Is she local?

I live on Chandler Street in the Belconnen Town Centre. I love how close I am to our gorgeous lake, heaps of footpaths, the shops, and a lot of great eateries and bars. While the Town Centre is undoubtedly my home, I love all of Belconnen and regularly frequent our nature parks, shops and restaurants – and just enjoy being here. You can read my many reviews here.

Why is Tara running?

I grew up in Queensland, living in seven different towns by the time I was 18 so never really had a ‘home town’. It wasn’t until I moved to Belconnen that I felt I’d found my home – somewhere I both loved and felt a real sense of belonging. And when you love something, you want the best for it.

I started small, simply promoting things that I was enjoying in Canberra and Belconnen on a blog called In The Taratory as a hobby. But by its third year it had 3000 views a week – and a weekly radio segment. I love being able to raise Belconnen’s profile with it. It’s fostered a love of communicating with people about issues that matter to them.

In the same month I purchased my home here, I joined the Belconnen Community Council, later becoming its Chair, and then the board at this cultural heart of Belconnen. I feel I’ve helped make a real difference with my fresh ideas; to foster greater connections in the community, and inspire the community to make sure its views are heard on local matters.

But I want to do more; to channel my energy and drive to do the most I can for our community to get the best I can for it. I know that to be the kind of MLA I want to be, I’m going to need a lot of energy. And I know I have that energy now – I can’t assume that I’ll have the same energy in 4 years or 8 years or 24 years.

That’s why I’m running.

Where can I meet Tara?

I’m doing my very best to come to you. That means calling you as well as coming to your home to introduce myself and have a chat (if you’re not busy!). In the meantime, you can regularly see me at one of my shopping centre stalls. Send me an e-mail at [email protected] if you’re keen to catch up with me soon and want to know where I’ll be.

Is Tara Mary Porter‘s (former Ginninderra MLA) replacement?

I’ll never replace Mary Porter. Anyone who knows her knows she is one of a kind and irreplaceable. I am trying to do justice to her legacy: working hard, talking to as many people as possible, getting outcomes for the people of Belconnen and making sure I’m out and about no matter the weather!

Our red highlights are coincidental but our drive is not! Our red highlights are coincidental but our drive is not!

What’s Tara’s background?

My professional career has included working as a receptionist, at coal mines in central Queensland, and – since moving to Canberra in 2008 – as a federal public servant. I’m currently a Director (EL2) in the APS. I studied to be a journalist (Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts in Queensland) but after interning – and genuinely having a great (and successful) time – realised I wanted to be part of making the news, not just writing about it.

I lived all over Queensland growing up (my parents were variously restaurateurs, a taxi driver, a mature age uni student, an HR Manager and a water pipeline operator) and I never really felt I had a ‘home town’ – until I moved to Belconnen. Something felt right about living here, and ever since I’ve passionately promoted it in every way I can including:

In my ‘spare time’, I’ve completed a Master of Business Administration at the University of Canberra, served as a Tournament of Minds judge since 2013, been a founding member of the Canberra Global Shapers and volunteered with numerous organisations – most notably with Radio 1RPH since 2009.

What sort of dog is Cooper?

Cooper is a whippet (not an Italian greyhound and not a greyhound, but in between). He has a predilection for butter so sometimes looks a little wider than your normal whippet.

How long has Tara been a member of the Labor Party?

I joined the Labor Party in early 2007, soon after Kevin Rudd became Opposition Leader.

Where is Tara on the ticket?

In the ACT we use the Hare-Clark voting system where there is no ticket. Each electorate has multiple members. At the 2016 election, each electorate will have five members each.

Preferences are determined by voters and each ballot paper is randomised. On your ticket my name might be at the top, but on your neighbour’s ballot paper it might be at the bottom. Or in the middle! Or anywhere in between.

It’s why I’m working hard and asking you to vote 1 Tara Cheyne as well as the rest of the Labor team in the order of your preference.

What does the electorate of Ginninderra cover?

Ginninderra covers all of the Belconnen suburbs except for Mckellar, Giralang, Lawson, Evatt and Kaleen (these five are in the Gungahlin electorate of Yerrabi).

When is Belconnen getting green bins?

If Labor is re-elected, Belconnen will get green bins in 2018 (after the pilot in Kambah/Weston Creek and Tuggeranong).

When will Canberra have a bulky waste pick up service (similar to what other jurisdictions have)?

If Labor is re-elected, a kerbside bulky waste pick up service will be introduced in the 2017-18 financial year for all households. You can read more about this policy (a genuine passion of mine that I’ve been championing for a long time) here.

Does Tara support light rail?


Light rail is a plan for the whole city and will:

  • ease congestion (one light rail vehicle carries 3x the amount that one bus can carry; light rail will go down the middle of Northbourne meaning buses won’t be taking up a lane of traffic, freeing it up for cars)
  • reduce travel times for people travelling
  • allow the 1.2 million bus kilometres currently dedicated to buses servicing the Civic-Gungahlin route each year being redeployed to the suburbs, including supporting the increase from two to nine bus rapid services – and that’s just the beginning
  • integrate with the bus network with one fare system
  • be a smoother form of transport (for starters, you can simply walk on – no steps like a bus)

The character of Northbourne Avenue will be retained. Every tree that has to be removed for construction of light rail will be replaced and we are adding 1000 more.

We also recognise that not everyone’s circumstances will allow them to take public transport. That’s why Labor is continuing to invest in roads (repairing and duplicating, including Aikman Drive and William Slim Drive) and footpaths; has announced separated cycleways for greater connections within Belconnen Town Centre and its surrounding suburbs; was the first jurisdiction to regulate ride-sharing (Uber); introduced car sharing (like PopCar); and we have partnered with business to begin testing autonomous vehicles here.

ACT Labor is improving transport no matter how you choose to travel – light rail is just one part of that.