Tara's Thoughts

Statement to the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy

September 12, 2016

To enable voters to make comparisons between candidates before election day, the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD) invited each known candidate in every electorate to answer 3 questions and endorse of modify a Charter of Democratic Commitment.

My responses are:

My name is Tara Cheyne and I am a candidate for the ACT Legislative Assembly in the electorate of Ginninderra

I am endorsed to represent ALP.

 These are my principal qualifications for being a parliamentarian. 

Belconnen is my home and my passion. When you love something, you want the very best for it – and that’s what I’ve committed myself to doing. I started small, simply promoting things that I was enjoying in Canberra and Belconnen on a blog called In The Taratory as a hobby. By its third year it had 3000 views a week – and a weekly radio segment. I’ve loved 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 that we purchased our home here, I joined the Belconnen Community Council and soon led it as its Chair. Since 2014 I’ve been a member of the Belconnen Arts Centre Board: Belconnen’s cultural heart. I’ve made a real difference with my fresh ideas: fostering greater connections in the community, and inspiring the community to help make sure its views are heard on local matters.

In my professional and community careers I’ve led large, diverse teams. I’m a natural communicator. I have the drive, energy, determination and proven experience to do even more to make our community even better – and that’s why I’m running.


If elected, these are the issues that I see as the most important for the long-term benefit of all my constituents and towards which I will be working on their behalf.

 We have an ageing population and a growing population. Key issues facing us include ensuring we’ve got the right infrastructure in place to support us – from a range of affordable housing options, to high quality transport no matter what method you use – and remaining inclusive and connected, both physically and socially.

While waste management isn’t a sexy topic, it’s a critical one. For example, Labor’s bulky waste pick up election commitment is a policy I’ve personally championed for a long time. ACT Labor has partnered with the charity GIVIT, which means bulky items collected which are still usable and in a good condition can be provided to households in need. Continuing to better educate and encourage the community to recycle is also key.

Maintaining a focus on the Belconnen Town Centre – a fast growing, fast changing and popular destination to live, work and play – is a priority of mine. With the recent release of the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan, I look forward to working with businesses, residents, community and government to implement its recommendations. In particular, I’ll continue to advocate for Belconnen Arts Centre’s completion, rejuvenating Lake Ginninderra’s foreshore and increased integration with the University of Canberra.


If elected, this is how I plan to represent my constituents. I.e. how I will engage with, consult and report to the electorate during my term in office. 

 I’m determined to be an MLA who works to know your views so that I can make them heard and get the best outcomes for our community.  So, I’ve run my campaign in the way that I want to be an MLA. In a few months alone, I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and held hundreds of community stalls – day, night, wind, rain, sunshine or sleet. The number of people who speak me at a shopping centre simply because they’ve seen me not once but numerous times or because I’ve already knocked on their door speaks to the value of being available regularly and consistently.

However, I recognize not everyone has a chance to speak face to face with a politician. As representatives, we must create, participate in and encourage participation in as many channels as possible. In this campaign alone I’ve engaged regularly and meaningfully via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; have personally responded to every e-mail I’ve received (hundreds); and conducted a survey which hundreds of people have completed and about which I’ll be preparing a report soon.

I’ve valued the opportunity to create community connections in all these forms and will continue with this work.


 I will abide by the CAPaD Charter of Democratic Commitments as follows: 

  1. I will at all times tell the truth to the citizens and voters of Canberra and be honest in all aspects of my work as an elected representative of the people of the ACT.
  1. I will fully disclose and make public the sources and value of all political funding donations, contributions, gifts public and private in line with ACT electoral laws.*
  1. I undertake to be fair, ethical, compassionate and diligent in serving my electorate and the nation at all times, and to uphold the Australian value of “a fair go for all”.
  1. I will promote and support participatory and deliberative methods for policy, planning and legislative decisions.
  1. I will place the public interest (the welfare and wellbeing of the community as a whole and the integrity of the planet) ahead of personal interests.
  1. I will never abuse or misuse the allowances, subsidies, concessions and privileges accorded to me by the people of the the ACT and the ACT Legislative Assembly in my role as an elected representative.

 Signed  Tara Cheyne Date 9 September 2016

 *See Section 14 ACT Electoral Act.