Why I’m a Belconnen candidate in the ACT election

22 Aug

Next week marks In The Taratory’s fifth birthday.

It’s a fitting time for the blog to officially take a hiatus.

Here’s why.

In The Taratory began, for a few weeks at least, as T in the Territory. We were two Taras, former housemates who differentiated ourselves by calling each other T1 and T2 because we had the same initials. One day we were chatting about how many people we knew didn’t have kind things to say about Canberra. It puzzled both of us: we were doing really fun and interesting things and loved exploring our adopted home.

We figured that maybe, just maybe, Canberrans might not have an understanding of just how much there was to do. Maybe they would find a blog that pointed some of these things out helpful. At the very least, it would serve as a bank of memories for us. We posted a Welcome entry followed by a review of my first ever trip to Costco (replete with mobile phone pictures!).

Aranda bushland is a quiet sanctuary

Aranda bushland is a quiet sanctuary

(And fortunately, a friend soon pointed out that T in the Territory read like Tin The Territory and offered In The Taratory – a play on our names and Australian Capital Territory – as a suggestion instead.)

Many of you know that T2 stopped contributing officially in early 2013 and generously handed the reigns squarely over to me (while remaining the blog’s biggest supporter – and her posts still are among the most popular!).

Celebrating completing a section of the Canberra 100 walking track with Cooper!

Celebrating completing a section of the Canberra 100 walking track with Cooper!

This was Canberra’s centenary year and I really found my feet: reaching 3000 weekly views, hitting 1000 followers on Twitter (a real thrill!), and gaining a weekly radio segment on 2CC.

Most of all, it introduced me to our community, and our community to me. I’ve loved being able to promote Canberra and especially my home of Belconnen. I’ve been nicknamed ‘Queen of Belco’ and ‘Ms Belconnen’ for doing my best to showcase what’s on offer here. And it hasn’t been hard to do because I truly love it.

It's not hard to love this city

It’s not hard to love this city

When you love something, you want the best for it. At the same time that In The Taratory was really taking off, I took on a leadership role in the Belconnen Community Council, eventually becoming its Chair (the only woman at the time, and the youngest of all the community councils). I joined the Belconnen Arts Centre board.

In these roles I made real in-roads. I helped create greater connections between community organisations and then with the greater community. I worked hard to get people excited about and participate in the drafting of the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan so that what we want for our home becomes its future. I’ve advocated for the completion of the Arts Centre and the completion of the path around the lake in front of it. Together with other community organisations, we helped make the case to keep the Department of Immigration in the Town Centre – and succeeded.

All this time, I worked as a Director in the public service. And in my spare time, I became a founding member of Global Shapers Canberra, judged Tournament of Minds three years in a row, volunteered fortnightly at Radio 1RPH and completed at MBA at the University of Canberra.

But I want to do more. I want to do more for the community I love.

I figure the best way to do that is from within the Assembly. In there, I can be Belconnen’s voice – to take our views from this fantastic part of Canberra and make a real difference.

In November last year, the ACT Labor Party preselected me as a candidate for Belconnen. I’ve been working tirelessly as a candidate since then.


Because I want to make sure we’re connected as a city. We’re growing and we’re ageing. I want to make sure we’re connected as a community through arts and music. Through sport. Through knowing our neighbours whether we live in the suburbs or an apartment. Through green spaces and places to linger.

Transport is a big part of that connectivity. I want better transport no matter where you live or what method you take. It’s not either/or for me – I know we can have a complementary, integrated system of roads and public transport, as well as well-maintained footpaths and cycleways which are connected and convenient.

Because I want to make sure we maintain our civic pride. I’m often asked why I have such a focus on local matters and it’s because I know how much we care about our homes. Of the thousands of homes I’ve personally visited, I’m struck by the care and pride we take in our homes – in our city. I want a city that’s clean. I want a city that will be 100% powered by renewable energy in 2020. I want to ensure that we manage our waste effectively with green bins, solar bins and bulky waste pick up – all of which campaigned for, advocating for you.

And of course, it’s because I want to continue promoting what a greater corner of the Earth that we are so lucky to live in. And I want to make sure we never lose sight of making sure we’re the most liveable region in the world, year after year.

In The Taratory – all 337 posts of it – has fortified my love for Canberra and Belconnen.

In The Taratory is the reason that I’m running.

And, in a funny way, it’s become the reason that we have to officially pause – at least for the next few months – as I throw everything into being the best representative that I can be for you.

Thanks for your support and encouragement – and for connecting with me over the past 5 years.

You can follow the campaign on Facebook at Tara Cheyne – Labor for Ginninderra and I’m continuing to tweet at @In_The_Taratory. My campaign website is www.taracheyne.com.au – and I blog regularly!


6 Responses to “Why I’m a Belconnen candidate in the ACT election”

  1. whisperinggums August 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    Well, Tara, if I were in your electorate, I’d vote for you. You go girl! One day we might meet around the traps somewhere. Belco is not my stamping ground but I do go to the Arts Centre a few times a year. Good luck. xxx

  2. Andrew VK1AD August 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    Like many in Canberra I started reading your blog in June 2013. The first was Mt Tennent. If you can conquer Mt Tennent, which you did in fine form then you have the stamina to win the hearts of voters in Belco. Tara, good luck with your campaign.

  3. Kieran September 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    Not in your electorate but good luck Tara!

  4. JM September 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Hello Tara
    I was just wonder if your party the Labor party could rethink the electric trams. I understand that it is more for the environmental health and to help transport more easily through out Canberra but to see a tram right in the middle of civic where the beautiful natives, long lived trees gone and the grass to be replaced by metal and cements will really make the area a concrete jungle just life Sydney and Melbourne. I like that Canberra is a garden city and we move at a slower pace

    • inthetaratory September 30, 2016 at 10:37 am #

      Hi JM. As you might be aware, a number of trees along Northbourne are dying and have to be replaced regardless. In addition, any tree that has to be removed as part of constructing light rail will be replaced and the Government will be adding 1000 more. The intention is to create what they term an ‘urban meadow’ – no one wants to see the character of Northbourne changed and that’s why my party is so focused on making sure we retain the trees. I hope that assists.

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