Recommendations for your pathway to politics: Kate Lardner

Photograph of Kate Lardner with overlaid text "Victorian State Election 2022"
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.
In October 2022, we spotlight alums running in the Victorian State election.

Dr Kate Lardner, Independent candidate for Mornington

Hello! My name is Kate, I am an alum from the 2020 Pathways to Politics program. I am a medical doctor by day and climate activist by night! (or in my spare time). My husband and I set up the organisation Healthy Futures, which facilitates healthcare workers to take action on climate change based on health grounds.

Many of our key decision makers are politicians. I was intrigued to place myself inside the mind of a politician and inside the walls of parliament, to understand what the limitations or benefits are to ‘being on the inside’ to make change. This led me to the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, which was absolutely fantastic. During the program, I learned about independent candidates and realised how influential they could be in not only making change on major issues, but changing the culture of politics. I realised then that I wanted to explore this further, and I went on to set up Voices for Mornington Peninsula, as grassroots campaigning was what I was familiar with. I had to step back from it prior to the Federal election due to my twin pregnancy (and then twins!). But I watched in amazement as the ‘teal movement’ made history before our eyes. I was hooked!

It wasn’t until someone in my community approached me about running that I really considered it in a concrete way. They had a lot more encouraging to do before I finally said yes! And then the rollercoaster took off, and here we are, 60ish days out from the election! It’s going very fast.

The biggest challenges are trying to get a campaign reaching its full potential with a relatively short lead in time. I think having done a year’s groundwork would have put our team and myself in greater stead. But we will work with what we have, and we are doing well so far. I guess you will always feel that there is room for improvement. And I have to remind myself that there is no perfect campaign! I think having young children makes it challenging, but I also don’t want that to be a reason I don’t run.

I think our biggest accomplishment has come while doorknocking, taking the time to reach out to everyday people in our community and listening to their concerns. The gratitude people express for being listened to is really heartwarming.

Even if we don’t win, we continue the work of building a better world, and facilitating community engagement in the democratic process.

My recommendations

Don’t Just March, Run for Something: a real-talk guide to fixing the system yourself by Amanda Litman

I would highly recommend this book. The person who approached me to run encouraged me to read just the opening chapter. It left me with the feeling that I couldn’t not run. Knowing what I knew, it then felt like it was my duty to try and make things better for our community.

Find the book online

Cover of the book "Run for Something"

Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsk

No words to describe how wonderful this book is.

Find the book online

Cover of the book "Rules for Radicals"

Rules for Revolutionaries: how big organising can change everything by Becky Bond & Zack Exley

I’ve been told this is an incredible read.

Find the book online

Cover of the book "Rules for Radicals"

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