8 July 2022

Who is Ed Cocks - the ACT's newest MLA?

| Lottie Twyford
Join the conversation
1
Ed Cocks

Meet Ed Cocks. He’s the newest member of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

He’s only been in government for less than a week, but the newest member of the ACT Legislative Assembly knows the people he’s now been elected to represent like the back of his hand.

And he should, given Ed Cocks is as Canberran as they come.

From his birth in Canberra Hospital to a childhood growing up in a government house in Tuggeranong, watching the Canberra Capitals play to promoting a burgeoning nightlife scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and a degree at the University of Canberra followed by a career as a public servant – Mr Cocks has witnessed Canberra grow and change.

In fact, he even met his wife, Nicole, at Academy Nightclub in 2005.

One does wonder how Mr Cocks went from the world of nightclubs, event promotion and DJing to the halls of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

nightclub

Back in the day, the now shut-down Academy was the place to be for Mr Cocks and his future wife. Photo: Academy Nightclub.

Reflecting now, he says he was a “teenager who caused plenty of trouble”.

“I went very rapidly out of high school into the music scene and there were quite a few clubs around town where I started performing and then promoting events,” Mr Cocks explains.

It was an event at Heaven nightclub on a Wednesday evening that kickstarted just over a decade spent in the industry.

And the scene itself back then was “wonderful”, he notes, and really gave people a community and a place to come together.

“It was a kind of place and time where you could do so much if you were willing to have a go,” he says.

READ ALSO Mark Parton: the TikToking politician unafraid to ’embarrass the hell’ out of the government

Marriage and then the arrival of his two children meant it was time for Mr Cocks to say goodbye to the clubs, although he says music is still hugely important for him.

Instead, he signed up to study a degree in management at the University of Canberra and found his way into a courier role that would become a 23-year-long career as a public servant at the Federal Department of Health.

By working his way up the ranks of the Australian Public Service, Mr Cocks was able to start working on policy and programs in areas such as Telehealth. More recently, he was able to focus on mental health – an area he is passionate about.

“Over time, I’ve seen it impact a lot of people – you know, from close friends to family members,” he explains.

“When I was out doorknocking I saw how many people wanted improvements in mental health because everyone knows someone who is struggling.”

Mr Cocks has been appointed as the Opposition spokesperson for Mental Health, Jobs and Workplace Affairs, and Regulatory Services.

He described this as a privilege.

“Canberrans face significant barriers to accessing mental health care in the ACT, and I look forward to contributing to positive, practical solutions,” he said.

READ ALSO Hope springs eternal as Peter Cain embarks on his third age

Politics came knocking – so to speak – at Mr Cocks’s door around the time of the 2013 election.

“It was the first time in my adult life that I had seen what life was like under a Federal Labor government,” he says.

“In my eyes, a government’s success shouldn’t be measured by how many regulations they bring in and how much they hold people back but by how much people can improve their own lives.”

So, in what’s now been a Labor-Greens town for a long time, the Canberra Liberals felt like the obvious choice.

Mr Cocks first ran unsuccessfully for the Legislative Assembly at the 2016 ACT election and for the federal seat of Bean in 2019, as well as the 2020 ACT election. He also worked in a behind-the-scenes role as the policy convenor for the party in 2016, knowledge he will now put to good use.

Liberals housing announcement

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee, former Liberal Senator Zed Seselja, candidate for Fenner Nathan Kuster, candidate for Bean Jane Hiatt and candidate for Canberra Slade Minson on the campaign trail at the recent federal election. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Of course, Mr Cocks is being sworn in as an MLA for the Canberra Liberals at an interesting juncture for the party. Liberal insiders have suggested the loss of the party’s only federal representation at the last election was proof it’s time Leader Elizabeth Lee must bring the party to the centre.

But for now, Mr Cocks is remaining mute on the, well, more political aspects of where he sees the party going.

“I do feel a real sense of responsibility to make a positive contribution and lead by example and make sure I’m engaging with the issues that represent my constituents,” he says.

“That’s not done by diving into those temptations to break things down and hurt [people] I guess.”

Those issues, according to Mr Cocks, include the struggling education system, the lagging healthcare system, neglected local infrastructure and the housing affordability crisis.

And he’s firm in his belief that the party will have the policies ready to present to voters.

Join the conversation

1
All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Latest

Born at the Canberra Hospital, a nappy vallian living in a government house, a sportsman who loved watching the Canberra Capitals, on to a wild and burgeoning nightlife scene in the 1990s. A life growing up in a “wonderful” environment in which people and community came together. This is a man who encapsulates the true meaning of being a Canberran despite “causing plenty of trouble”. Then we go on to those words that say so much about the Canberra Liberals and their conservatism. Can anyone else read those hidden messages? “Free enterprise” “willing to have a go”. Those “us” and “them” words that strike a chord within the hearts and minds of the most hardened conservatives. They also appeal to the worst side of human nature. Luckily fate intervened into Mr Cocks’s life and he became an accidental politician in 2013 when he discovered, for the first time in his adult life, just how nasty things can become under a Labor government. All those nasty lefties and their regulations holding people back from “improving their lives”. This period of enlightenment took Mr Cocks on a spiralling journey where he became a Liberal candidate at every Federal and Territory election since then. But alas, like all true conservatives he will lead by example and make sure he’s engaging with his constituents and not diving into those nasty temptations. Unfortunately for him, the Canberra Liberals have now been in opposition for 21 years. They lost their only representative at the last federal election for the first time in 46 years. I am looking forward to Mr Cocks and his party overcoming their muteness, regaining their voices and presenting their policies detailing how they will tackle the challenges of government prior to the next ACT election.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.