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Profile of an inner-city Liberal

Liberal Councillor Shayne Mallard likes staying as close as he can to the community reports Simon Nichols in the December 2007 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

“No, I don’t have any Federal Government ambitions,” Mallard tells me. “I am more interested in health, education and community service. I have always preferred the bread- and-butter issues, even though they are often considered the un-sexy areas of politics.” Sharing a coffee with him near the fountain in Kings Cross, you can tell that Mallard feels comfortable out on the street with the local residents. “I come from a small farm community, with just one church and just one school. I guess that instilled in me the notion of communities empowering each other and doing it for themselves. In those small towns you meet people and there is a real sense of cyclical responsibility; a hand up, not a hand out.”

Mallard brought that ethic to Sydney, joining the Young Liberals and becoming State President in 1993. Previous Liberal State presidents include Joe Hockey and Philip Ruddock. He was involved with the Fight Back John Hewson Campaign, worked closely with Peter Debnam and currently is a key confidante of Malcolm Fraser.

“I love Sydney and I want to create a greater sense of ownership amongst the residents, similar to what happened during the Olympics. We have a real mix of people here. I want to highlight what we have and why we are so special. I would love to deck out some big buses with audiovisual equipment and get tours conducted all around Sydney. The buses would not just go to the major tourist spots but through the suburbs of Newtown and Ultimo. I am also a cycling fanatic and I have a dream to make all parking underground in the Kings Cross area and then widen the footpaths for cyclists and pedestrians.”

On his website, Mallard describes himself as a progressive Liberal. He is conservative in terms of finance and welfare but he feels he is progressive in the areas of social issues like discrimination, women, refugees and same-sex couples. He also maintains a facebook and a blog to keep up with the information super-highway – to “keep a finger on the pulse.”

So why did Mallard get involved in politics? Quite simply, “I love helping solve problems for people. That is why it motivates me as a vocation.” Mallard muses when I ask him what he doesn’t like. “The personal attacks, but unfortunately that comes with the territory.”

Source: South Sydney Herald December 2007