Thank you, Madam Chairman. It is a true honour to stand in this Chamber representing the good people of Doboy Ward. For me, it is a realisation of a lifelong dream, one which has been fulfilled much sooner than I'd ever hoped.
I'm incredibly thankful to the people of my Ward for affording me the opportunity and will spend the next four years working, to the best of my ability, to improve their quality of life and, indeed, the quality of life of each and every person who calls this great city home.
The Doboy Ward is quite unlike other wards in this city. Its geography lends primacy to no particular community; rather the Ward is a patchwork of diverse and often competing interests.
In the east, urban renewal and gentrification is transforming older suburbs of Cannon Hill and Carina into the new must-have real estate, as families buy post-war homes and choose to renovate.
Murarrie is on a great and positive upheaval, as the East Village transforms the old CSIRO site into a residential and commercial hub.
In the west rural acreage in Ransome nestles alongside the sprawling estates of the upwardly mobile in Wakerley, a suburb which in the last 10 years has seen its population increase almost six fold as the last remaining broad acre developments on the east side are built.
In the north, the traditional working class suburb of Hemmant is at once a quiet hamlet and, upon crossing the railway line, a vast commercial artery through which the Port of Brisbane Motorway carries thousands of trucks each day.
In the south, straddling Minnippi Parklands and bisected by the Gateway Motorway are the leafy established suburbs of Belmont and Tingalpa, home to honest, hardworking people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.
Yes, Madam Chairman, Doboy Ward is a diverse community, with each microcosm living in relative isolation from one another due to the mass of road, rail and power corridors in my ward, as well as the more natural boundaries of the Bulimba Creek, the watercourse from which my ward takes its original name.
Like the ubiquitous Russian doll, I am continually discovering the next layer down. It is my intention, during my time here, to do all that I can to address this disconnect. Creating a well connected community is not just a matter of physical infrastructures like footpaths and roads. It is the social infrastructure; our community groups, our sporting clubs, charities and associations that provide these vital links.
In essence, I see the development and the improvement of these entities and their relationships with each other as being important over and above everything else.
Prior to my election I worked as a community consultant to some of Queensland's largest infrastructure and resource projects. Those who know me will tell you whilst the work was not always easy it was incredibly rewarding to get good outcomes for people in need, and that is something I hope to continue in my new role.
The 27 of us here have an enormous task in the stewardship of Australia's largest local government authority, over a million people call Brisbane home. The planning, service delivery and developmental powers vested to this Council are second to none.
Long after all of us leave this place the legacy of our contributions will be writ large on the roads upon which we drive, the parks our grandchildren play in and the buildings that make up the skyline.
Our success will be measurable and demonstrable, and our descendants will scrutinise our efforts closely. However, unlike the ancient cities of Paris, London and Rome, here in Brisbane we do not inherit a living museum. We live in a city in its relative infancy, a mere 188 years old. Of course this poses challenges, but it also presents enormous opportunities. We are challenged economically by the inevitable end of green field expansion as the urban sprawl reaches the city's limits, but it provides us the opportunity to reuse and reposition obsolete or under-utilised buildings and sites for infill development.
We are challenged externally, as other councils in South East Queensland embrace our pursuit of economic development and begin to compete more readily with us in attracting new business. But it provides us with the opportunity to forge strategic partnerships with strong regional players, to grow the whole pie rather than just our slice.
And we are challenged physically by the extraordinary population growth in South East Queensland, but it provides us the opportunity to plan, design and construct better links to move people about the city across a variety of modes, be they cars, cycles or buses.
Some would say that this isn't the place for party politics and, with respect, I disagree. The adversarial nature of this Chamber and the effective model under which this city operates is the envy of every other council in the country.
All of us have arrived here, at least in the first instance, by virtues of our parties. Party politics might not suit Biloela but it certainly does suit Brisbane.
I'm a great believer in my own party, the Liberal National Party; it fuses the two great traditions of non-Labor Australian politics, that of classical liberalism and modern conservatism. In government it is that fusion which has given rise to the longest periods of political stability and economic prosperity in the history of this nation.
As a Liberal, I believe that the chief motivator behind society's greatest achievements is the enterprise and initiative of individuals. Only when individuals are free to pursue their own economic, social and personal interests do we, as a whole, prosper.
And as a conservative, I believe in cherishing our shared values and institutions, that is not to say that we must accept what is today will be tomorrow, rather that change should be managed carefully and deliberately to preserve the best parts of our culture.
The fact that this is a city council and not a state or federal parliament in no way diminishes these ideological drivers. For me to pretend that I am somehow a glorified administrator or bureaucrat would be to treat my electorate with contempt.
Madam Chairman, this is who I am, and I have always thought in politics and in life that it is preferable to stand on one's philosophical and intellectual principles and be defeated rather than to live in the grey twilight like those opposite, who believe that electoral success is achieved through the perfunctory distribution of sound bites, and stunts masquerading as policies.
All the door-to-door mosquito advisers, all the publicly owned sunscreen dispensers and all the civic relationship registers in the world couldn't cut the mustard with voters in my ward. I will look on with great interest to see what practical, achievable plans the Labor Party offers this city over the next few years.
Madam Chairman, I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor in this place, John Campbell. Thirty years is an extraordinary amount of time to serve the city in any capacity, let alone in public life. On behalf of the community I would like to thank him for his service and wish him and his family well into the future.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my tireless campaign manager and friend, Liam, as well as the rest of the team and, in particular, Zac, Shane, Benjamin and Kevin. To all my workers and volunteers who spent days on the roadsides letterboxing or in the pouring rain on polling day. Thank you for volunteering your time to our cause.
To my federal and state colleagues; Ross Vasta, Andrew Laming, Steve Minnikin, Aaron Dillaway and now Neil Symes, your advice and guidance throughout this campaign has been invaluable and it will not be forgotten.
To the LORD MAYOR, my Council colleagues, other candidates, the campaign team and, in particular, the Councillors WINES, BOURKE and ADAMS, thank you.
I must, of course single, out the DEPUTY LORD MAYOR, Councillor SCHRINNER and his wife Nina. You've both been extraordinary friends and allies for me over the past years, for that I say thank you also.
To my faithful and loving partner Emma; my father, John; my mother, Janet; and brother, Joel, one could not ask for better individuals to be close to in political life. You grounded me and kept my fire stoked through this campaign this victory is as much yours as it is mine.
At this significant moment in my life I'm reminded of the parable of the faithful servant to whomever much is given of him will much be required and to whom much was entrusted of him more will be asked.
The people of Doboy Ward have entrusted me to be their faithful servant for the next four years. It is a privilege I will not squander.