MONA FOR MERMAID! A Hecke of a challenge for Shakin' Ray Stevens

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Shakin' Ray Stevens may be in trouble in Mermaid Beach, with a credible, community-minded Independent candidate, Mona Hecke, challenging him at the 25 November Queensland State election. This is Mona's story.

Sitting Mermaid Beach MP, the LNP's Ray Stevens, refused to answer questions about his controversial Skyride development under questioning from IA managing editor Dave Donovan in 2015, instead responding with a bizarre and aggressive "chicken dance" (Mona Hecke image via facebook.com/mona4mermaid)

SOME PEOPLE may find it difficult to see the correlation between a naturopath and having a passion for politics, which results in a nomination for a State election, but there are more similarities than you may think.

As a naturopathic physician, my work entails peeling back the layers of a client’s health issue to find an underlying cause. Band-aid and quick fixes are short term with usually poor outcomes which result in relatively little or no longterm solution and unhappy customers.

I see politics as much the same. Having the ability to thoughtfully listen and understand the core of a problem and provide long term sustainable solutions, as opposed to symptomatic relief, will always be a better outcome for all parties concerned.

It all sounds so simple really, apply sound listening skills, understand the problem, search for the most suitable solution and a positive outcome should prevail. On paper, it makes perfect sense to apply these principles, but as we all know common sense ain’t too common and principles seem to be in short supply for politicians.

Ray Stevens displaying his respect for Gold Coast residents

To friends and family I am the eternal optimist, the passionate defender of social justice and a great believer that anything is possible with hard work, persistence and community support.  With just weeks away from polling day, my beliefs are being put to the ultimate test.

Utmost and foremost, I am a health and wellbeing advocate, qualified naturopath of nearly 20 years standing, public speaker and author of best selling children's health book, The Lunchbox Revolution. I run a small business "Aussie Health Girl" which promotes the importance of healthy choices for families, especially babies and children.

As a single mother of three children (now in their 20s), I am a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child and know first hand the importance of having supportive friends, family and an engaged community.

I am a passionate community advocate for for the Active & Healthy program run by the Gold Coast City Council. Spending time in community centres and libraries inspiring locals to live a healthier lifestyle is one of the favourite elements of my work.

I am proud to be a past student of Broadbeach State School and Miami High School, graduating in 1982. One week later I began work at Radio 4GG with a combination of duties beginning with bikini promotions, a Stubbies Surf Girl and a natural talent for copywriting which saw me swap the bikinis for a typewriter. 

Meeting iconic celebrities along the way along with hallway cricket and infamous "Sausage Roll" Parties, 4GG will always hold a special place in my heart.

In 1984, I was part of an amazing start up team for the Conrad Hotel & Jupiters Casino. Beginning in human resources and progressing into marketing and public relations, for this landmark attraction was one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs of my career. 

The opportunity to be part of the opening team of the luxurious new Sheraton Mirage, along with the glitz and glamour of Sanctuary Cove, was a dream come true. However, the hotel life and long hours didn’t lend itself well to starting a family and that encouraged me to embark in another direction.

Raising three children taught me the value of good health and the importance of higher education and so, as a young mum, I went back to school to gain my Science degree as a naturopath. Learning for six years part-time while working and raising a family also taught me the values of patience, persistence and ultimately personal achievement.

My desire to have a greater impact on the community by highlighting positive messages, such as the inclusive Active & Healthy program, was the obvious starting point for me.  The opportunity to create a healthy legacy for the Gold Coast community through creating healthier schools, better sporting facilities, and kinder aged care facilities are some of what has inspired me to make the decision to run as a candidate in the election.

Mona Hecke came within a whisker of upsetting the LNP strangelehold on central Gold Coast at the 2016 Gold Coast City elections

With the Commonwealth Games being held the Gold Coast 2018, I believe it is our responsibility to ensure the legacy we create for the Gold Coast is one of inclusiveness for all ages, abilities, health and activity that grows beyond the games and becomes an integral part of the Coast's future.

Community groups across this vibrant region have a unique opportunity to support their advocates and change the face of politics for the better. People are sick of the same old rhetoric and broken promises. We need politicians who are willing to listen, dig a little deeper and offer solutions for long term benefit. They cannot afford to rest on their laurels any longer and I really believe that this election will see some surprise results. 

As a candidate for Mermaid Beach in the State Election on 25 November, key issues that represent my core community values include:

  • Transport corridors, not only the M1, but also safer bikeways and pedestrian access that keep people moving – East-West Lightrail connecting Bond University, Robina Town Centre and sports facilities.
  • Commonwealth Games legacy and the impact on the wider community.
  • Preservation of our koala corridor, green space and public assets, including a Moreton Bay Marine Park Authority to preserve and maintain The Spit and promote it for eco-tourism.
  • Daylight saving, the economic benefits for tourism, small business and the community
  • Smart city planning, density and growth should not be at the cost of our city's character and way of life
  • Cruise ship terminal, capitalising on the Brisbane development and tourism opportunities
  • Healthy futures commission, getting our State healthy and active, reducing childhood obesity and chronic illness.

Mona Hecke has strong support from the local community (Image via Sandrine Lazignac via Facebook)

I encourage everyone who feels this way and has ideas on how we can create this cultural, social, community change to help me help the greater Gold Coast City by getting your voices heard in Parliament.

This is not a time to sit on the fence, we have the opportunity to decide our future now and I believe that together we can "make a difference".

There is a meet the candidates event for the Mermaid Beach electorate tonight, 6-8pm, Friday 17/11/17, at the 'Sports House', 337 Christine Avenue, Varsity Lakes.

You can also follow Mona Hecke's 'Mona for Mermaid' campaign on Facebook HERE.

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