- Honour Roll
"Never forget that you are an advocate for the community." That is the advice Kaele Way gives to those considering standing for local government.
Kaele is passionate about local government. A councillor for two terms, from 1997 to 2003, and the National President of the Australian Local Government Women's Association since 2004, Kaele says it is possible to make a real difference as a local government representative.
"It is something that is closest to the people and is something that is truly local," she said. "You have a very strong involvement with the community, see the difference you can make and really feel that you are contributing to the wellbeing of others."
Kaele stood for election after deciding she could be a conduit between the community and the council on a range of issues. After her six years as a City of Whitehorse Councillor she was able to see the fruits of her labour and on leaving ofﬁce turned her attention to encouraging others, particularly women and young women, to stand for ofﬁce.
"A balance of all people in our community in representation is vitally important," she said. "And women bring a great deal of skill and experience with them." Under her leadership, the Association has established a mentor network to support and encourage women standing for local government, as councillors and council ofﬁcers.
"We are making sure they have the knowledge of what local government is about," she said. "They need to know of the commitment - it's a lot of time. You need to read minutes and documents to be informed, attend meetings and you need to really like people. And you should remember that you are there to represent the people and it is an honour to do so. You are not there because the community thinks you know it all. You are an advocate for the community and you should never forget that."