My name is Matt Watts and I am a Liberal Candidate for Ginninderra in the October 20 Assembly election.
Regular readers would know me as the first candidate to donate Lego and participate in the RiotACT’s Candidate Lego Challenge (link). You may also have seen me at a shopping centre or at your front door, spreading the word that I’d be an effective local MLA.
I asked the RiotACT team to leave the comments functionality switched on so that we can have an open dialogue. The RiotACT team advised me that they’ll have to moderate anything that’s off-topic, yet I’m happy to answer general questions about my beliefs, background, policies, etc.
If you want the official Canberra Liberals policies, head here. Now – about me:
I was born in Sydney. My mum’s a teacher and my dad was trained as an electrical engineer, starting his career at the Sydney County Council before a couple of moves to now work for Boral. One grandfather was a plumber, and the other grandfather was a manager at Sunbeam back when they made quality products in Australia. I mention this background to enforce that, whilst I am an established public servant, and proud of the service I have performed for the community through my work, I wasn’t spawned within the APS bio-dome.
I joined the Department of Immigration as an APS 1 in 1999, straight after completing my HSC, with a view to supporting my studies via the APS. I commenced a Bachelor of Arts at Sydney Uni in 2000, with which I was mightily unimpressed (and it me, probably), so I soon got over that distraction and stayed with Immigration. I moved to Canberra in 2003.
I was involved in Immigration’s response to the Palmer and Comrie reports and, with my interest in administrative matters piqued, I resumed study and obtained my Master’s in Public Policy (specialising in social policy) from the ANU.
Work has taken me on deployments to remote areas; most recently I spent six months as a director on Christmas Island. I haven’t travelled much, but I enjoy experiencing new environments. My first overseas trip took me to Canberra’s Friendship City, Dili, and I was amazed at certain correlations between our two cities!
I am a Hash House Harrier, both locally and whenever I travel. It keeps me relatively fit and I’ve met people of really diverse backgrounds. I also enjoy reading widely including history, magazines on current affairs and comics, supporting live local music, whisky tasting, walking (which is handy because I’ve never had a driver’s license), reading and TV shows like Doctor Who.
At various levels over the years I’ve been a member of the Belconnen Community Council, the Australian Privacy Foundation, Neighbourhood Watch, the Australian Institute of Administrative Law, the Institute of Public Administration Australia, ACT Light Rail, Music ACT, Friends of the (Australian War) Memorial and Electronic Frontiers Australia. I was even involved in the CPSU at one stage. I’m also a Justice of the Peace. Being involved in my community is important to me.
I’ve been a member of the Liberal Party since I was sixteen because I’ve never liked the nanny state. I ran as a candidate for Ginninderra in 2008 and as Senator Humphries’ running mate in 2010 (I am likely to have been a Senator if I didn’t save Gaz from the path of a speeding van as we were crossing Northbourne Ave!).
I am especially interested in improved local service delivery, planning and infrastructure, liquor licensing, higher quality community consultation and strengthening the quality of public administration within the ACT Government, particularly with regards to unintended consequences. For example, the feel-good plastic bag “ban” has led to more non-biodegradable bag use in landfill and increased litter in our streets; government intervention is rarely a panacea. Government should serve the Canberra community more than it tries to socially engineer it.
If you want to meet me in person, I will be at the October Hall Markets in the afternoon, and I am at the Jamison “Trash and Treasure” every Sunday morning until the election.
Over to you…!
[authorised by stephen doyle - liberal party canberra]