Politics can be a fulfilling career, and a way to contribute to society. We spoke to Alex Greenwich and asked him how we too can lead the country.
Alex Greenwich is an Independent member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
The New South Wales Legislative Assembly is the lower of the two houses of the Parliament of New South Wales. The Legislative Assembly has four main roles: to represent the people; to form the Executive Government for New South Wales; to legislate; and to approve the Government’s request for money.
Greenwich did not like what he saw when he first looked into politics, disclosing “it was a bit dispiriting” and that “the state of politics, particularly federally has gone through quite a lot of turmoil since I was first involved in 2007.” For example the AWB oil-for-wheat scandal.
“As a gay man I wanted to be able to marry the person that I love in the country that I love. I joined a campaign organisation called Australian Marriage Equality and that gave me a lot of exposure to politics.”
Putting his hand up to run as an independent for the city of Sydney in 2012 he was successful and has represented the seat of Sydney ever since.
Greenwich acknowledges that this is not the usual path that someone takes. “I was involved in a campaign that was important to me and from that I built up my confidence and skill to engage in the political process and the ultimately run for politics.”
“Other people start in politics by joining a political party or by getting elected to local council and progressing from there. For Bondi Beauty readers I think Women for Election Australia is a great resource. They run training and education programs for women of all ages who are wanting to be involved in politics because we really do need to increase representation and diversity in our political system.”
Some of the changes that have come about as a result of Greenwich’s action in parliament include the opening of a new inner city high school, meeting targets on reducing rough sleeping in the inner city and the passing of his bill to decriminalise abortion in NSW last year to name a few.
“I like to achieve things for the city and for the people that I represent.”
Looking forward there are some big challenges. “I am obviously wanting to legislate voluntary assisted dying in NSW, I am wanting to enforce a number of LGBT laws and I am wanting to see NSW shift strongly to renewables and to a more sustainable approach to the environment,” says Greenwich.
Inspired to continue his work in politics Greenwich asserts, “some of the most rewarding work that I can do in my job involves helping individual constituents with their concerns, whether it is a small business who has been doing it tough during COVID and needs access to grants or whether it is an individual who is needing secure housing and helping them with that.”
Summarised into 5 easy steps:
1. Interest and Education is vital to getting into politics. You don’t need to study Political Science to get into politics. Interestingly the top three degrees held by politicians are Law, Arts and Economics.
2. Volunteer for local causes or work for an MP. This may look like getting involved with local bush regeneration, running a beach clean or landing a job as an MP assistant.
3. Get to know other MP’s. Networking is important in any job and the same goes for politics. Attend political events such as branch meetings, and introduce yourself to local members. You can also get in contact with an MP by writing or by call.
4. Build a strong support team. Your support team is your backing. You can join a party by applying and paying an annual fee or you can build your own political party. To register your party you will need to pay a $2,000 fee (only for state parties, it is free to be a registered party for local government elections), assign a secretary, registered officer and a deputy registered officer. You will also need a legally compliant registered party name and to fill out all the documents and forms required for registration.
5. Stand for something and run your campaign (like a boss). With a passion for politics ignited by the Marriage Equality Campaign, Alex Greenwich stood for a cause he believed in and continues to advocate for issues close to his heart.