Today I went along to the Bayside Business Women’s Lunch at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club.

I met some very talented, successful small business women, some of who worked from home for the flexibility it brings when it comes to childcare. And rarely does a business women’s lunch pass by without a discussion on childcare – or lack thereof!!

It certainly seems that The Greens policy of ensuring the provision of adequate childcare facilities in the workplace and our policy on making childcare costs tax deductible for those in paid employment would be a step in the right direction for many women who may be looking for more flexible working arrangements, but are unable to work from home.

But I digress.

The keynote speaker for the lunch was the Lady Mayoress, Lisa Newman – wife of Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman. I point that fact out because for the past 20 years Brisbane hasn’t had a Lady Mayoress so, being Brisbane born and bred, the whole concept is completely new to me.

I do find it odd that someone can achieve a position of influence and power by simply being married to the right person. That said, Ms Newman seems to be an enthusiastic and accomplished fundraiser and there are plenty of local charities in need of accomplished fundraisers, so it would make no sense to wish her nothing but the best of luck!

Ms Newman raised her concern for the welfare of the community’s children – the homeless and the displaced. It was clear that the damning local statistics she shared touched everyone in the room. Through her fundraising efforts Ms Newman seeks to help children in need. In hearing her, I hoped this would include refugee and asylum seeker children…

Last year I did some volunteer work for the Annerley Book and Literacy Centre which is a project of Anglicare Refugee and Migrant Services. It was here I learned that a few of the organisations around Brisbane that help refugee and asylum seeker families (e.g. Brisbane Actionweb for Refugee Collaboration, Refugee Claimants Support Centre) were provided funding by Brisbane City Council (rather than by state or federal governments).

Ms Newman’s speech inspired me to ask her, on behalf of these centres, if this sort of funding would continue. I received a positive response that these children, who live as members of our community, would not be forgotton. This is great news and I will be following up these centres to check that this remains to be the case.

All seriousness aside, it was great to meet these very busy women who see the benefits of taking time out to network and share their experiences with other women. It was a very welcoming environment – and a bit goofy at times which always sits well with me. 🙂

It was also great to receive well-wishes from many for my running as a candidate, but it was also healthy for me to be among these busy women and see that I will survive these crazy days of working full-time, running a part-time business and campaigning. Here’s hoping!!

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