“I love the suburbs of Chisholm and I want to make sure our community has the support, advocacy and representation in Canberra that we deserve,” starts Dr Carina Garland when I asked her why she put up her hand to run as the Federal Labor candidate for Chisholm in the upcoming Federal election.

Growing up in the south-east and now living in Clayton, Dr Garland was educated in Chisholm, has lived her life in the community and wants to ensure the future generations benefit from the diverse and colourful, and yes close-knit community she held close to her in her formative years.

“There are so many wonderful community groups who serve Chisholm and I’ve been honoured to meet and learn from so many of them, we have an area with a very vibrant civic life and we are very lucky.”

Dr Garland says the voters of Chisholm have been woefully let down by the Morrison Government on issues such as aged care, health, education and, importantly, secure jobs.

“We have two large universities in our community, and they’ve been totally abandoned by the Morrison Government, they’re important to our local economy and to our wonderful small businesses and the local representative has failed to advocate for this important sector,” says Dr Garldand.

She adds that affordable childcare and high quality education are so important.

One issue that Dr Garland says has enormous potential for the Chisholm community is for developed advanced manufacturing in the suburbs of Chisholm.

“Labor has a plan through our $15 billion national reconstruction fund and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with local businesses, institutions and workers who are really excited about the prospect of proper investment from Labor in key sectors for good jobs and a strong economy in Chisholm.”

Dr Carina Garland with Nick Staikos (Member for Bentleigh) right, and Steve Staikos (Mayor of Kingston). Photo: Supplied

It’s hard not to be taken aback by Dr Garland’s real love for her community, the people that live in the suburbs. Her unwavering commitment comes from her Italian heritage where she sees herself reimagine the closeness and support of living in an ethnic family into her political career.

She tells me the story of her grandparents, a true migrant tale of settling in Australian post-war with enormous struggles, language barriers, low paid jobs, but the ability to turn their lives around, and have a better future, because of a Federal Labor Government.

“I was raised with an understanding of the promise of opportunity Australia represents for migrants, who make a huge decision to start a new life here. Their lives were transformed when Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister,” she posits.

“A Whitlam Labor Government meant that my Nonno could train as a teacher, and he became a much-loved senior maths teacher at Emmaus College here in Chisholm. This new job meant that he and my Nonna could buy their own house and have security.”

And she credits good Labor Government’s and policies that changed her grandparents’ life, and her mother’s life to the opportunities she finds available to herself, but also the reason she is a fighter for this electorate.

Chisholm is undoubtedly a battleground in the upcoming election. One that will see Australia’s lens places front and centre on the people there, their thoughts, but importantly their aspirations moving forward out of the pandemic.

Photo: Supplied

Having such a diverse community, I asked Dr Garland what specifically she will do for her community.

“I will always advocate for strong support for our wonderful communities, including the Greek community, in Chisholm,” she begins.

“Whether it is ensuring that we have proper funding for broadcasters and news outlets to ensure we have content in language, supporting local cultural celebrations and community groups, and local businesses, I want to champion the contributions our Greek community makes to Chisholm.

“I want the community to know that my door is always open to listen and to advocate for them.”

The door to Dr Garland has been opened since last year, August to be exact when she was preselected to run as Labor’s candidate in the tight battle for Chisholm. Since then, she has been talking to voters, community leaders, business owners, and workers all telling her the same thing – the community of Chisholm want integrity brought back in politics which Dr Garland says Labor is “absolutely committed to”.

“There is deep distress at the situation in aged care, which only Labor can be trusted to fix. People want to see Australia build our future here, through a strong skills program and manufacturing.

“Our community feels let down and that makes me so angry and determined to fight even harder to win, because we deserve so much better.”

Photo: Supplied

With this, Dr Garland says that she will be a member of parliament for Chisholm that listens, acts and cares about issues raised with her. She understands that it’s a demanding job, one that she will never take for granted and will be the voice for Chisholm in Canberra.

“What Labor will do differently is have a plan for this country, for our community, and work to achieve it. Good jobs and a strong economy, access to quality education, and strong healthcare also ensuring we have the physical and social infrastructure we need is what’s important.”

While Australia waits with baited breath for Scott Morrison to call the election – one thing is for certain – Dr Garland is ready. She is ready to take up the fight for Chisholm, and take it all the way to Canberra.

“Australian’s deserve better, and the people of Chisholm and crying out for a Government that listens to them, and that acts for them.

“Labor will make sure that people have the opportunity to follow their aspirations and the people of Chisholm have a better and brighter future.”