Local, Independant and Effective

Volunteers - Judy Dixon and Kirsten Lingard

Posted December 01, 2015



Judy Dixon and Kirsten Lingard volunteered in Cathy's office in Canberra for the November 9-12 sitting. Read more about it in this News Release from Mansfield Shire below. Credit to Alex Green for the Release.

News Release

18 November, 2015

Inside the Canberra Bubble


Mansfield residents Judy Dixon and Kirsten Lingard spent last week in Canberra working as volunteers in Cathy McGowan’s parliamentary office in what they have described as the best professional development opportunity ever.

Chief Executive Alex Green explained that Council offered the ‘internship’ positions to two officers via an expression of interest process and Kirsten who works in community development and Judy from tourism and economic development were selected.

Cathy McGowan, Federal Member for Indi, is the only politician to run a volunteer program at Parliament House in Canberra.  It provides hands-on opportunities for locals to gain insights into the political processes which in turn builds capacity within our communities.  In a win-win, the volunteers undertake a variety of jobs suited to their interest and skill that assist in the running of the very busy office.

Long days jam packed with a variety of tasks characterised the week.  Judy and Kirsten attended a number of meetings and events with Ms McGowan and also represented her at a number of functions.  After each event a report was written to identify any strategic outcomes for Indi or actions for Cathy.

“A highlight for me was writing a 90 second speech on TOAST – Council’s ‘Tolmie offers a seat to town’ progam, that Cathy gave in Parliament,” said Ms Lingard.

“The amount of time that Cathy invested in our week, in helping us make connections for our local community and in assisting us understand how best to lobby politicians and use the political processes to our advantage was fantastic,” said Ms Lingard.

Ms Dixon added that she also had the opportunity to write some speeches – including one on Mansfield Shire’s multi-faceted success and on Targa as an event of state significance. 

“We attended a number of functions where we took the opportunity to speak with senior advisors, ministers and media and discussed a number of Indi issues while also keeping Mansfield Shire interests front of mind.”

Over the week Judy and Kirsten attended Question Time and attended meetings as broad ranging as mental health for youth, Syrian refugees in regional Australia, regional media and the regulatory environment, regional leadership development, regional and rural data collection and treatment of refugee children in detention.

“It was an amazing professional development opportunity; one that will pay real dividends for business and community and we both thank Council and Cathy McGowan for making the opportunity available,” said Ms Dixon.

“We’ve already made a number of connections and followed up on some leads that will be of benefit to our community,” added Ms Lingard.




Judy Dixon -0418 324 146


Kirsten Lingard -5775 8534


Alex Green - 5775 8516


Image available:  L-R:  Kirsten Lingard, Cathy McGowan and Judy Dixon at Cathy’s Canberra office

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