Election Year 2016 is upon us.
Yet, it feels as if the political turmoil of Labor V Labor, Liberal V Liberal was only yesterday as the parties became somewhat keenly focused on overthrowing their own leaders, leaving everyday Australians like you and I not only election-fatigued but also a bit over the tantrums and turmoil that seemed to be preoccupying Parliament on a daily basis.
What’s different for me this year, and the rest of us in my local electorate, is Labor’s latest high profile contender for the seat of Cowan.
<image credit: The Australian>
If you’ve not yet heard of Dr Anne Aly or you’re unfamiliar with her work, that’s all about to change over the coming months.
Counting her as a good friend, and knowing her personally for years, I’m in the unique position of being able to give some insight into who Dr Aly really is.
Aside from being a political scholar, academic and counter terrorism expert, she is also:
- A WA Women’s Hall of Fame inaugural inductee from 2011. It was this chance meeting that sparked the beginning of our friendship which has already spanned half a decade.
- She’s an Ambassador for the Bali Peace Park Association and one of our most fierce supporters, campaigning for the project at the highest levels of Government.
- She was the driving force behind Beyond Bali – an educational initiative that both Phil and I are a part of to counter extremism from a grassroots level.
- She’s the founder of the international organisation PaVE – People Against Violent Extremism.
- She has coordinated a national mentoring program for young activists to brainstorm and develop counter-messaging to extremist propaganda online.
- She’s a major political player on the international stage when it comes to finding solutions to the ever-changing face of violent extremism.
- She’s faced death-threats and intimidation while carrying out her work, yet she has never been one to back down.
- She’s not only someone who puts her hand up to say “I will”, she actually gets herself out there and gets the job done. Every. Single. Time.
She is an inspiration not only to me, but also to Phil and many others around the world.
She is a game-changer when it comes to Australian Politics.
When the time to vote finally rolls around, each candidate should be counted on his or her merit. Especially when considering who you will be selecting as representative for your local electorate.
What Cowan ultimately needs in Federal Parliament is a voice.
And Dr Aly not only has a voice that will be heard, she has a voice that is to be reckoned with.