Better together

• Councillors Chontelle Sands and Lara Kirkwood want to prove you can have polar opinions and polite debate.

THEY’RE often at opposite ends of the political spectrum; indeed, Evel Knievel would have blanched at the gulf between their views on Roe 8.

But Cockburn councillors Chontelle Sands and Lara Kirkwood will be in-step this International Women’s Day as they host a breakfest event designed to show you can engage in respectful debate even if you have wildly different opinions.

Cr Sands told the Herald the theme of the breakfast was “Better Together” which was a play on the IWD theme “Balance for Better” and aimed at showing women working collectively could help create a gender-balanced world.

“You can have different opinions and still work together,” she said.

It’s a significant message for the pair, who have been on the receiving end of appalling social media trolling where opponents tried to shout them down and intimidate them with abuse simply because of their political views.

But despite the sometimes torrid times in public life, Cr Sands says she’ll definitely be using the event to encourage other women to run for council.

Cockburn currently has a council split 50/50 along gender lines, but that doesn’t extend to its bloke-heavy executive. Cr Sands concedes that’s a tricky area to fix, as recruitment is the sole preserve of the CEO. Even when she pitched an International Women’s Day event, one of the city’s managers raised an eyebrow and basically said “why bother”.

“If you’re saying that, it kind of shows that you’re not really getting it,” she says.

While she and Cr Kirkwood are running the IWD event under their own steam, she says there is support from within the admin to add it to the city’s calendar of events in the future.

This year’s event will feature a talk by Katie Faiello, a Coogee resident who owns the San Churro chocolate shops in Cockburn Central and Fremantle, who’ll be touching on her move from a corporate background into a small business; all while raising a couple of kids.

The event is being held at 8 Yolks Cafe on Beeliar Drive, Success from 7am and is free, although participants will be expected to buy their own breakfast. For bookings, find the event on Councillor Chontelle Sands’ Facebook page.


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