I’m Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins and I’m running in the North West ward for Darebin Council. Never has the local government been so important, the state of the nation starts in our streets!

I live in beautiful Reservoir, with my partner Hamish who is a local firefighter, and two young adults who were once my little children! Our big blocks in Reservoir mean we live with two dogs (please adopt, don’t shop), two cats (indoor only, need to save the birds and lizards) five chickens (outdoor only) and a beehive with 40,000 sweet angel bees that have been doing an excellent job of pollinating garden. For the past 15 years I’ve worked for an international NGO in neuroscience research and have a background in policy development.

I work with a number of local community groups, supporting women, refugees and advocating for more urgent climate action. I actively support families with autistic kids to navigate the difficult education system. I run ‘Community talks sex’ in collaboration with local high schools and expert researchers, sharing with families how to form respectful and healthy relationships. I have also been a member of numerous choirs and singing groups and have a passion for local arts and music! I am a really keen gardener and believe strongly in community skill sharing to link people together.

In 2018, my autistic son was assaulted. In a time of real personal darkness, we were astounded and warmed by people’s empathetic response for my family and the families of the other kids involved. I feel strongly that all our young people need support, love and understanding, not punitive justice. It is so apparent to me that the community, our community, is filled with people who want to see compassion in public life. Compassion is brave. I want to be a part of that movement, a part of that change. It’s why I joined and am running for The Reason Party.

As your local representative, I will work with my community and take a compassionate and evidence-based approach to decision making. I will be advocating for:

  • Trust and transparency: Good governance means the best people for the job, but it also means transparency. I will be advocating for a council funded start up free, community newspaper service to replace our lost community service.
  • The initiation of an emergency mode to address climate change and a rapid transition to zero carbon in the Darebin community.
  • Supporting and fighting to keep home services for aged care within council.
  • Reduced red tape in council for all residents.
  • The development of sustainable, local waste management solutions and measures to reduce the production of waste within the community.
  • Aboriginal recognition and inclusion in decision making.
  • The protection and creation of more public parkland and wildlife corridors to support wildlife seeking shelter from fires in outer Melbourne areas.
  • Renewed, beautified and protected community spaces, accessible for all abilities.
  • More localised mental health and drug and alcohol support.
  • Support with pride, the LGBTIQA+ community.
  • A community café at Edwards Lake Boathouse.
  • An accessible use bike cage at Ruthven Station.
  • More music and learning shared programs for toddlers and seniors.
  • Support for struggling local business affected by COVID-19 lockdowns.