About Tamsin

Hi there! Tamsin Bearsley, at your service.

Councillor and previous Mayor for City of Kingston, South Ward. Also teacher, IT professional, mother and identical twin.

Here are some real questions that people have asked me.

So, Tamsin, why did you become a councillor?

When I was working during the Kingston floods of 2011, the most frequent feedback I heard was “I wish you were on council!”

I believe that our community needs leaders with a sense of fairness, common sense and natural curiosity. I’m always trying to live up to my own standards!

I grew up in a religious community that discouraged civic participation, didn’t vote, and discouraged women from speaking up for others. So that makes me a rebel! Every day we get to choose the kind of person we are.

Where have I seen Tamsin before?

Maybe at school? I teach information technology and programming at a primary school. I volunteer to lead the lunchtime robotics, coding, acting and chess clubs. I’m very proud of my students!

Maybe in the local community? A growing suburb needs parks with trees and bike tracks, well-placed rubbish bins, streamlined traffic flows, internet access and community events. I’ve been involved with our local residents association for some years before even thinking about running for council.

Maybe in our MP’s office? As well as teaching, I worked with our (inspirational!) Donna Bauer, MP for Carrum. The office was like a lightning rod for residents trying to engage with council services. People would regularly ask for help with services such as parking, planning, rubbish, graffiti removal, beach and park protection. It was hard but essential work, especially during the floods.

… or maybe you’ve met my identical twin?  🙂

Do you really have an identical twin?

Yes. See if you can tell us apart!

What about life experience?

I started my career as an IT professional. I’ve worked in large and small organisations, both commercial and government.

I hold two university degrees: Bachelor of Business Systems from Monash University, and Bachelor of Teaching from Deakin University.

After living overseas, travelling the world and starting a family, I moved into teaching, and became involved with local community groups. That was years before I even thought about council.

How do you make good decisions?

I consider every issue on its own merit. No-one tells me how to vote.

I do a lot of background research. We always need to ask ourselves “What are the pros and cons? Who does it affect? How do we protect against unintended consequences?”

There’s always multiple viewpoints to consider. Respecting local residents is paramount.

I love our natural environment around Kingston, including eucalypts and wetlands. I would like to see more, not less.

As a teacher, I believe in respect and fairness, and I don’t tolerate bullying.

I tend to be a social progressive and fiscal conservative, with a touch of common sense. I’m always working on it. It’s not always easy, but I love it.

What are your views on Water Fluoridation?

(yes, a real question I received)

If you’re worried about the effect of Fluoridation on IQ, here’s my experience…

I lived in Warragul as a small child. The water supply was not fluoridated. My parents gave us a fluro tablet every day to compensate, until we moved to Mentone when I was five years old.

I found myself as Dux for my school in year 12. I scored the highest VCE score for Information Technology  score in Victoria. I won the Premier’s prize, and received it from Jeff Kennett… who said ‘we need people like you to stand for parliament’!

Some years later when Andy and I were living in London, I visited the dentist. The dentist called his students in to see my teeth as I sat in the dentist chair. The dentist asked the students, with my mouth open: “where did this patient come from?”

The students replied: “Somewhere where there’s fluoride in the water”.

So, yay for science!

Who paid for the signs and letterbox flyers when you ran for council?

During the council election campaign, Andy and I paid for the letterbox flyers, print advertising and signs ourselves. It cost about $5500 all up.

Our friends, neighbours and community did the letterbox drops with me. On weekends, at night, even in the rain. I’m very thankful.

Incidentally, I’ve been reusing the signs in my robotics classes. The signs are perfect mats for Lego robots to navigate and sometimes self-destruct on.

Other questions?

What else are you doing besides working with council to resolve Kingston’s oldest and most difficult problems? Do you *really* read all those reports?

Go on, be as curious as I am. Join me on Facebook or email me.

Cheers,
Tamsin