In this blog series, we ask our alums to tell us about their personal ‘pathway to politics’ and provide their recommendations for content that will help support, guide, inspire and engage other women on their political journey.
Debbie Taylor-Haynes, Liberal candidate for Bentleigh
In a strange turn of events, I find I am back where I began with political aspirations, only this time representing myself rather than assisting others to listen and advocate for their communities. As a young adult I aspired to work in the European Union, as an interpreter and translator, not an MEP, which was way above my station. I had studied European Studies and Modern Languages in the UK and was very interested in European politics. Life and cupid took me on a different journey to the US and eventually Australia, into a world of business and marriage.
As a mother of three children, I’ve been actively engaged in my community in various voluntary roles and have always taken a keen interest in Australian politics at all levels. In 2020 I became involved in State politics with the Liberal Party becoming a State Delegate. With a background in small business and Senior Account Executive roles along with a MBA, I thought my skillset and experience could be of assistance to win the next election. I participated in the Prospective Candidates Training Program, graduating in 2021.
I was encouraged to apply for the Pathways to Politics Program for Women at University of Melbourne. It has been brilliant on so many levels – content, invaluable insight and guidance on getting pre-selected. The wonderful, inspiring speakers, along with speeches in Parliament and Graduation at Government House has been incredible.
I now find myself the endorsed Liberal Candidate for Bentleigh in the 2022 State Election.
Some of my sources of inspiration
Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
This book contains many inspiring stories of female leaders across politics, business and NGO’s.
1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s 1984 had a profound effect on me as a teenager and still lights a fire in my belly today.
Get Elected by Ruth McGowan
Get Elected by Ruth McGowan is a fantastic practical guide to running a campaign.
Get Elected is Ruth’s step-by-step campaign guide to winning public office: local, state, and federal. It is available to download for free via the Pathways to Politics website.
You can also purchase Get Elected in hardcopy and download more of Ruth’s campaign tips on her website.
Woman’s Hour – BBC Radio 4 / podcast
A podcast I like listening to is BBC Woman’s Hour’ by Radio 4, as it keeps me updated on woman’s issues.