A Gembrook 26-year-old has put his hand up for the seat of Gembrook.
Michael Galea is the Australian Labor Party (ALP) candidate for the electorate and in the November State Election will run against Liberal Gembrook MP Brad Battin, who has held the seat since 2010.
Mr Galea moved to the area when he was 10 years old and attended the local primary school.
He attended Emerald Secondary College, before going on to study arts at Open Universities.
On 1 August, his 26th birthday, Mr Galea took time to chat with the ’Mail’ about politics, his personal life and what drove him to become a candidate at such a young age.
“When I was quite young I had the view politicians were all the same, but it was a campaign I ran as a teenager when I was 14 that changed my mind,” he said.
“From Gembrook there was a bus to Belgrave but none to Pakenham, so I started a petition and got the local community involved.
“Through that process I met with the then local MP Tammy Lobato and she really helped me get the campaign up and running and ultimately secure the bus from Gembrook to Pakenham.
“That showed me that there is a real value in local community politics and its capacity to be able to get things done for the community, which has stuck with me and inspired me ever since.”
While one point of difference is his young age, Mr Galea is also openly gay.
“I think it is important that we have more young people in our parliament it’s important that we do represent the entire community and is imperative that people judge us not on our age or gender, but on what we can do for the community,” he said.
“The main thing I really want to do is be a good local representative for the area.
“I really feel that too often the hills communities get left to the end of considerations and coming from Gembrook itself I really want to drive to change that and make sure the hills are getting the service they need.”
The Gembrook electorate takes in Avonsleigh, Clematis, Beaconsfield and parts of Berwick, Emerald and Pakenham.
At the 2014 state election, Brad Battin received 54.6 per cent of first preference votes, ahead of ALP candidate Ross Collins’ 30.6 per cent.