Politics just part of the mix for Siobhan

Politics just part of the mix for Siobhan


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Siobhan Blake (left), Denmark, hasn't let her age limit her desire to make a difference in politics. At 20 years of age, she was a candidate for The Nationals WA's senate ticket in the 2019 Federal election, along with Nick Fardell and Louise Kingston.

Siobhan Blake (left), Denmark, hasn't let her age limit her desire to make a difference in politics. At 20 years of age, she was a candidate for The Nationals WA's senate ticket in the 2019 Federal election, along with Nick Fardell and Louise Kingston.

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At 20, Siobhan was The Nationals WA's Senate ticket for the 2019 Federal election, which is a milestone for any aspiring politician, let alone a university student in their early 20s.

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SIOBHAN Blake's early success in politics is something that seems beyond her years.

At 20, she was on The Nationals WA's Senate ticket for the 2019 Federal election, which is a milestone for any aspiring politician, let alone a university student in their early 20s.

But with Siobhan's passion for giving a voice to young people and being an advocate for regional WA and mental health, it's no wonder she has seen success so early in the game.

Ms Blake said politics was always part of the family dynamic and she had taken an interest in the political scene from a young age.

"Mum only ever used to let us watch the ABC and Question Time was on a lot, which was my earliest memory of having some interest in what was going on in politics," Ms Blake said.

She decided to take the leap and join the WA Young Nationals in 2016 because she felt that young people, especially women, were under-represented in parliament.

"Young people make up roughly 31 per cent of the country (18-34 year olds), but something like less than 2pc of our Federal parliament," she said.

"How crazy is that?

"We (young people) need to be standing up, getting involved and having our voices heard because we are the ones inheriting this country."

Ms Blake spent her younger childhood years growing up on a sheep station in the Goldfields and was home-schooled through the Kalgoorlie School of the Air.

"School days were often spent sneaking off with dad on a windmill run or two," she said.

At 10, Ms Blake's family relocated to Denmark to farm sheep and marron.

"It was a massive change of scenery," she said.

"For one, the sheep yards actually have grass in them", which Ms Blake had never even thought possible at the time.

Her natural drive for being a leader shone through when in 2017 she was elected as the vice president of the WA Young Nationals.

"I'm lucky enough to do many things in this role, however my favourite is helping to organise the President's Advance Program, which is run annually to encourage community-minded young people to get more involved in politics," she said.

"Over the course of a year, we take a group of participants to Canberra for the 'whole political experience', while also teaching them as much as we can about State politics through organising political internships within the party."

So far during her first three years being engaged with politics, Ms Blake has been a major advocate for mental health, an issue that is close to her heart.

"(Mental illness) has affected me in so many ways throughout my life," she said.

"I struggled with anorexia during high school, which was a really tricky time, not only for me but my friends and family.

"If I can talk openly about the experiences I've had with my own mental health and as cliché as it sounds, if I can make at least one person feel like they're not alone in their journey, then I've achieved my goal.

"I think as communities, we're definitely starting to open up the conversation more - just look at the number of blue trees that are popping up around regional WA."

Ms Blake's longer-term ambition within politics is to show the impact that young women can have in regional WA and the agriculture industry.

"There are so many incredible women in the agricultural sector that I look up to," she said

"People are so quick to assume we are 'the farmer's wife' when we are so much more than that - we are the farmers."

Despite being from the opposing political side, Siobhan's inspiration for such change came from former Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

"I know she's from the opposite side of politics to me, but being the first female prime minister is no small feat," Ms Blake said.

"She is also the chairwoman of Beyond Blue and an incredible all-rounder.

"She has no time for being lectured about sexism or misogyny by men and I can wholeheartedly relate to that."

Ms Blake manages to balance her time between her "hobby" of politics while also studying a double degree in law and politics and international relations through the University of Notre Dame.

With three years of study to go, she is still unsure of what her career direction will be, but it appears to be steering towards law.

"I think I'd like to do something in workplace law or personal injury but honestly, my mind changes every day,'' she said.

"At the moment I am just trying to get experience in as many areas as I can.

"I love being able to volunteer for whatever cause I can within whatever community I find myself in."

Ms Blake is a member of the university's Law Student's Society and has been a volunteer with a program at the Wandoo Therapeutic Community Rehabilitation Prison, which she said has "been life changing", as well as currently doing an internship at a criminal law firm.

It's a wonder that she even has time to pursue politics at all, but it just goes to show what a drive for community involvement can do.

"People laugh at me when I say that politics is my hobby, but it is a fantastic way to get involved in the community and make a change," she said.

"I want to be a lawyer though, that's where my passion lies and I'll see where the rest of my degree takes me."

Ms Blake said that it could be difficult for young people to be taken seriously in politics, mainly due to their limited experience, but fortunately, this wasn't the case for her.

"I am lucky, I have a really supportive family and incredible party support behind me," she said.

"I have strong female role models within the party, with our leader being Mia Davies and deputy leader Jacqui Boydell, who are so generous with their time.

"Politics is often considered a dirty word.

"The whole 'don't bring politics up at the dinner table' discourse is so ridiculous.

"We should be encouraging young people to be actively involved in politics.

"My advice for other young people is to go out, do your research and find a party who aligns with your views and join it.

"If you surround yourself with the support of like-minded people, the sky really is the limit."

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