Monday, 5 December 2011
Firstly, I acknowledge that we are on the traditional tribal lands of the Wurundjeri people, and offer my respects to their Elders past and present.
I also acknowledge State Member for Brunswick, the Hon. Jane Garrett; State Member for Pascoe Vale the Hon. Christine Campbell; Upper House Member for Western Metropolitan, Andrew Elsbury and also former Upper House Member of Parliament representing Western Victoria, my brother, Peter Kavanagh; former Mayors, Mark O’Brien and Mark Higginbotham, my fellow councillors and colleagues of Moreland City Council, and senior staff including the Chief Executive Officer, Peter Brown and Directors, residents and ratepayers of Moreland, and family and friends; Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to you all.
I acknowledge the enormous trust and confidence of my fellow Councillors in electing me Mayor of Moreland. It is fair to say that this trust has probably required a greater leap of faith, than at any other time in Moreland’s history. I am now Moreland’s first Mayor who is not a member of the Australian Labor Party.
I accept that are there others better qualified to receive this honour. In particular, I think of former Cr’s Fraser Brindley and Rosemary Kerr and my colleague Cr. Jo Connellan, to name but three. Therefore, it is important to spend a few moments to explain my background and what motivates me in my public life.
It is, in my view, ironic that in many ways I probably have a greater Labor tradition than any who have gone before me in this important role. My great grandfather, the son of a convict, was instrumental in the forming of the Australian Labor Party in Tasmania and Victoria in the 1880’s and 1890’s and went on become the first Federal President of the Municipal Workers Union.
His son, my grandfather, was the ALP State Member for Carlton from 1932 until 1955 and was Cabinet Secretary for many years and was a State Cabinet Minister holding the portfolios of Health, Housing and Forestry. He was simultaneously a Melbourne City Councillor from 1938 to 1955 and Leader of Council’s Labor Caucus for a long time during that period.
His wife, my grandmother, was for many years the Honorary Secretary of Victoria’s Labor Woman’s Organising Committee. As a couple their contribution to Victoria was extraordinary and I am enormously proud; but I don’t wish to bore you this evening - but needless to say their daughter, my beautiful late mother, instilled in our family a commitment to community service. She believed that the political process gave ordinary people the ability to improve the lot of others. She found it difficult to understand those who were disengaged with the political process and so it’s no coincidence that my brother, Peter, became the only person elected to the Victorian Upper House of Parliament representing the Democratic Labor Party and another brother, Paul, of whom I am equally proud, was Victoria’s Lead Candidate for the Australian Democrats in the 2006 State election. Added to this, another grandchild, our cousin, Moira Kelly, has received numerous honours for her humanitarian work, most recently as the adoptive mother of previous co-joined twins, Krishna and Trishna.
We share one thing - a commitment and a passion to contribute to our community - and I hope this will be the hallmark of my term of Mayor. If it is - I will be fulfilled.
I also wish to thank my wife, Marguerita, and our four children, for their constant love and support. It’s fair to say that Marguerite is both my greatest supporter and my harshest critic. I have been a primary school teacher for the last 29 years, the last 14 in Fawkner and I personally highly value the 31 years of part-time work I spent working in many different service stations around Melbourne, many in Moreland.
I thank my fellow Councillors for their endorsement this evening. I thank those who voted for me and those who contemplated...