was born in April 1972 to a young single Catholic woman who came from a large
single-parent family. My birth mother was one of the eldest children in that
family, and had to help look after her younger siblings. She was unable to take
care of my needs, as there was no Single Parents welfare system like there is
today (although lately this system has come under attack from both major parties).
was given up for adoption, and was one of the lucky ones; history shows that
Australia had a bad track record for helping people who needed a helping hand
adoptive parents, the Cochranes, as well as my role models (my Nanna, Dad's
mum, and other members of my family), have a lot to do with the strong
community-focused principles and morals in my life.
of my parents had a good working history; they were able to provide a stable
family life for myself and my younger (adopted) sister - both of my parents
worked when we were younger; my father, Brian, in the Defence Sector
for 35 years (in the Regular Army, as a civilian store's personnel,
as well as the Army Reserves, where he was a Corporal); after retirement from
the Army he was employed at Noblett's Furniture, a family-owned and operated
national furniture manufacturer in South Australia, until the business went
into administration in 1996.
mother, Penelope, held a number of positions in a range of industries which
included family day-care at home, where she looked after young children; she
also worked on other at-home business concepts to help cover the rising costs
of looking after me and my younger sister. Later on, she was also employed at
Noblett’s Furniture, in the sewing section, a few years before my father took
up his job with them – when my sister and I were old enough to look after
grew up in a Housing Trust estate at the end of Morphett Road, in Novar Gardens,
where I stayed until I turned 20. I went to Camden Primary School and then
Glengowrie High School (now Elderly Housing estates).
at school, I started collecting golf balls from a local golf course at West
Beach – for a 12 year old, getting a lit bit of extra money for working hard
taught me a lot about the importance of looking after my own needs. The Pro
Shop Professional's mother was a fantastic person in my life; she would often
buy the golf balls (which I fished out of the lake) from me, and would act like
a doctor if I had cuts and grazes, from wading in the lakes.
that time on, I have had a varied job history, ranging from working in a
greengrocer’s shop when I was 18, to working at a Wild Game Meat manufacturer,
a leader in the Kangaroo Meat industry.
also tried my hand at the golf business (wholesaling golf products), but had to
cease due to over-crowding in the industry.
later ended up studying for my Certificate in Commercial Cooking and Food and
Beverage. For work experience, I was placed at the Hilton Hotel's Grange
Restaurant working with Cheong Liew and his hard-working team. Here I learnt
that "Our State’s (SA) food supplies and the Importance of maintaining our
Green, Clean, leading Food Industry as fresh is best." Before starting
service, Cheong Liew would take me around Adelaide’s Central Market to collect
the fresh ingredients needed to make his trademark dishes, such as Four Seasons.
Seeing such a professional at work was a great learning experience for me.
gaining my Certificate in 1999, I started working in the Hospitality Industry
for the National Catering Company. In my decade with them, I worked in a few
parts of the Industry from Aged Care, Education, Health (Hospitals), and Defence
to Event Work (Big Day Outs, Clipsal 500s, and Lemans and Grand Prix F1s in
Victoria) and also retail canteens and events both in front-of-house and back-of-house roles,
as a Supervisor and Co-Worker.
later worked for the South Australian State Education Department as a SSO
(School Services Officer) and a GSE (Government
Service Employee), firstly at the William Light R-12 School, helping the
Finance Department and Front Office Duties, in a part-time role as well as
filling in for the groundsman when he was on leave.
working for William Light R-12 School, I was offered a job at a Job Network
Agency as a PPS Assistant (Post Placement Support). In this job, my main duties
were to lodge claims and assist the team in helping jobseeker clients, as well
as employers who offered the clients of the network-providers jobs in their
workplaces; my job lasted six months, due to the Job Network losing contracts and
having to restructure, after they lost some government contracts.
returned to DECS and was part of the Department’s ancillary/support
staff working at various school sites part-time. I was also working for the Catering Employer as well as the cleaner for the Lambspit restaurant in
was offered a position as full-time cleaner, seven days a week, as well as
picking up Weekend Cook-Assistant shifts behind the counter at the Lambspit,
resulting in working three eighteen-hour days. The money was needed to help
support my young growing family; I had started the job when my son was just a
baby, and worked for a while after my daughter was born.
boost the family budget, I started working as a Santa’s Helper, which I did
professionally for four years at various shopping centres and private events
around the metropolitan area. In this role, I saw and heard first-hand what our
future voters wanted; surprisingly, a lot were not just requesting presents for
themselves, but rain for the farmers and gifts for those less-fortunate than
themselves. This made me feel as if the South Australian community as a whole still
has hope that we can become a caring, fairer community for all.
Another job in my working
career was being in charge of a seafood counter – this job required me to
hire other staff, order fish stocks from suppliers, and run the business on a
day-to-day schedule for an interstate company (based in W.A.).
I have also worked as part of the catering team
at the Ashford Private Hospital; I had to leave my position there to become a
single father of my two young children, who to this day are my main job – they
have delayed-learning and possibly other disabilities which need extra
attention; with the help of specialists and their school, we are coming up with
a work plan, so they can get the best out of life.
regard to my work life, I have always lived by "the never say no until you
try" mindset. I am currently studying for my Diploma in Community Services.
The main reason I entered the often-demanding
political arena as an independent candidate, was because like a lot of other
South Australians, I did not like what was going on in politics, how more of our rights had been slowly taken away from us
in the interest of putting the corporate companies’ wants ahead of the peoples’
Thank you for
taking the time to read my large biography. I hope that I am given the opportunity
to meet you in person, to answer any questions that may be asked.
My Political and Advocacy experience so far includes
* I represented my children and their rights in
the Family Law Court:
Although I used a lawyer, I worked behind the
scenes negotiating with my ex-partner (the mother of my children) to come up
with the best outcome for our children, which resulted in a family plan that
best fit our children's needs. Earlier this year (2013), I drew up the
agreement papers, in order for my children to live with me one hundred per
cent, as their mother wanted to move interstate to get on with her life (having
been a survivor of 2nd generation childhood abuse).
* I have worked with specialists and my
children’s new school, to get the extra assistance required to help with the
children’s special needs, as they both suffer from slight learning difficulties
(and possible other medical conditions which are currently being assessed).
* I have spoken at and attended many rallies and
events for Child Protection and Human Rights. I have also helped workers with
their Industrial issues, where I represented them in Employee-Employer
mediation, resulting in regaining pay while being suspended without pay, as
well as negotiating a better outcome for all stakeholders.
I shall continue to fight for what I feel is
right, as well as the rights of my fellow community members and statesmen, even
if I am not elected into a Public Servant position.