By Peter Wingate

    The COVID pandemic, on the back of our bushfire catastrophe and impending economic collapse is as big a disaster as I can comprehend….in fact, I can’t quite comprehend it because it keeps changing. For all the restrictions, job losses, illness and death impacting our lives during this crisis, it’s the constant change and uncertainty that corona brings that challenges me….That and trying to keep at bay the most destructive partner of the unknown; fear.

    Fear is a natural human reaction; it’s protected us over the ages from all manner of possible threat, particularly when information and knowledge sharing wasn’t quite so prevalent. These days unfortunately, it’s often the root of society’s ills; encouraging division, ignorance and hatred.

    Fear is motivated by the unknown, and in these times, when uncertainty is all-pervasive, it’s difficult not to succumb to it. But the destructive force of fear ie. ignorance breeding hatred, is the last thing we need when we have to come together to rethink our future.

    I hope to help shape this future for the Inner West of Melbourne, as a candidate in the upcoming council elections, so this crisis has gotten me thinking about how uncertainty 1 2 can create opportunity, rather than threat, and somehow take our society to a better ‘normal’.

    Focusing on the things that continue to underpin our success as a society and bring us together and letting go of what divides us is perhaps that opportunity, and I can see it in action more than ever now. This crisis has, on the whole, brought out the best in the people of the Inner West as we’ve seen examples of our community helping each other time and time again (and not enough time to individually single-out here). Where the more basic reaction to uncertainty is fear and isolation, our hugely diverse communities have come together to support their shared future and humanity rather than rear away from it. Rather than being frozen by fear, they have been motivated into action; action that not only creates positive change but celebrates the hope we all share for a better future.

    It’s motivated me with the confidence of knowing that our shared values are our greatest strength against the unknown, especially during adversity. These values I see as; Ethics, Empathy and Empowerment and they underpin what I want to achieve for the Inner West, by supporting and enhancing what we already know to be at the centre of a successful community, particularly ours. My opportunity to become a councillor for Maribyrnong and drive progressive change is fortunately not just aligned with but inspired by the actions of my fearless community in this time of adversity, as we all strive for a
    ‘better normal’.


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