Why David Lewis
Why I am standing
Welcome to my website, and thank you for being interested in how, together, we can strive to make local government work better for the Fraser Coast.
My reasons for deciding to stand for council can be distilled into three factors.
First, I would like to advance and share my ideas and ideals, to explore the ideas and aspirations of the whole community, and work for the betterment of our city and region. I have always been involved in community, but the time I could devote was necessarily limited. I believe that as your councillor I can devote myself to being your full-time servant and advocate.
Secondly, I have been disappointed by the style and performance of the current council. I believe their approach has been one of control rather than consultation, an attitude of “we know best,” and a discouragement of differing or dissenting voices. These concerns are discussed in the Towards a better council section.
And thirdly, I believe that I have the skills and the experience, the depth of community involvement over many years, and a sensible, collaborative and consultative approach which will enable me to represent you, Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast at the very best level. I don’t believe I have all the answers – no one does – but I think I can get the best from our combined wisdom, and this is an essential part of my approach.
What I can offer
In brief, I think I can offer four attributes that will enable me to work effectively for you as your councillor for Division 6: my inclusive, collaborative, but independent approach; the experience gained from living in our community for 39 years; my innovative thinking and willingness to garner the best of ideas from the whole community and elsewhere; and finally, but importantly, the skills like analysis, critical thinking and negotiation gained over years of practice as a local lawyer.
I have discussed aspects of my approach in the Towards a better council section. I am by nature and training, one who listens, understands everyone’s point of view, includes them in the process, and works towards a consensus wherever possible. I prefer to negotiate rather than badger, but can be persuasive and firm (and critical) when necessary.
Just as important I believe is my independence. I am not part of anyone’s team. While I was involved in a political party some time ago, I have been out of party politics for over 10 years. I value that independence and have the ability to deal with representatives of all political parties at all levels of government. And there are no impediments to bringing a balanced approach to issues whatever they are.
I have extensive experience working in Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast, both in business and in community groups. I believe I have a good sense of what makes our community tick, and how we can keep it ticking. More detail is set out below.
In the Issues section, I discuss a variety of ideas, both mine and others. Please check these out as they will give you an insight into my thinking. This section will grow throughout the campaign as I get around listening to you, and as time permits me to expand on these matters. And please, tell me your views.
We have all enjoyed lawyer jokes, but the skills gained as a lawyer in the community are invaluable for someone on council, in a variety of ways. Lawyers deal with people from across the community, on a large range of issues. This has given me an understanding of concerns and ways to help. Importantly it has honed the advocacy, negotiation and mediation skills that are so necessary for effective work as a councillor. I particularly value the experience as a Member in QCAT, where the emphasis is so much on giving everyone a fair and complete hearing, trying to resolve the matter by consensus, and ensuring no one leaves without knowing they have been dealt with respectfully even if they don’t go away with the result they sought.
A second aspect of legal practice is that one spends a lot of time analysing reports and argument. I believe I have a well-developed capacity for sifting sense from nonsense, and doing so quickly and efficiently.
And councils are creatures of the law. A legal background means that one isn’t starting at the beginning, there is already a good understanding of how the system works. I have acted as lawyer both for and against the council (and others) and this experience too will be a considerable asset.
David Lewis: A brief bio
David and Susan Lewis came to Hervey Bay in 1976, not long married, towing their sailing dinghy, and looking for new opportunities in an emerging coastal town.
David grew up in and around Proserpine, where his parents first had a cane farm, then became proprietors of the local newspaper, The Proserpine Guardian. After high school as a boarder at Nudgee College, he stayed in Brisbane to complete degrees in Arts and Law at the University of Queensland. He worked in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast after qualifying as a solicitor.
Susan lived mostly in Brisbane, but also for a few years in Chicago, her father’s home town, and in London. She worked as an airline hostess and, on return from the UK, as a public servant.
David had accepted a job offer with Hervey Bay’s first law firm, which later became Lewis & McNamara. He went into partnership in 1977 and remained a principal of that firm until he sold his interest in 2010.
When they arrived, Hervey Bay had about 6,000 residents. They lived first in Torquay, then bought a house in Urangan. In 1986 they moved to Point Vernon, where they still live. They settled quickly to life in Hervey Bay, David becoming secretary of Hervey Bay Sailing Club within a year, and each of them rapidly becoming committed and involved locals.
David has worked continuously as a solicitor since he arrived. After leaving his partnership, he also did some consultancy work in Brisbane, and for three years worked part-time as a Member of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) hearing and mediating cases as diverse as lease disputes, building disputes, appeals against government decisions like applications for a “Blue Card” and the appointment of guardians for people with disabilities. He now works for a Torquay law firm.
The Lewis family have a long record of community involvement. David has served on council committees including chairing the Regional Arts Development Fund for several years, and as a member of the council’s Arts and Cultural Steering Committee which recommended the establishment of the Regional Art Gallery and a performance theatre. He has served on the executives of many community and professional groups. He was President of Hervey Bay City Musicians for about 8 years, and played in the City Orchestra. He chaired the local branch of a major political party for a similar period.
He is currently a director on the board of Hervey Bay’s Bendigo Community Bank and a committee member of the Hervey Bay Boat Club Yacht Squadron.
Susan was Councillor for Point Vernon on the Hervey Bay City Council in the 1990s, in a council which saw the establishment of the Wide Bay campus of USQ, the commencement of the Regional Art Gallery, the securing of the railway land for the now mobility corridor, and the saving of the Urangan Pier. She has recently completed 20 years’ service as president and committee member of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, of which she is a life member.
They have two children, Bridget, who is a lecturer in the Law Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, and Paul, a high school teacher on the Gold Coast, and one grandchild, Hugh.
Lawyer with Milburns Law, Torquay
Volunteer, Taylor Street Community Legal Centre
Previously: senior partner, Lewis & McNamara
Sessional Member, QCAT
Consultant, Given Law, Brisbane
Lecturer (part time) University of Southern Queensland
Director, Fraser Coast Community Enterprise Ltd (Bendigo Community Bank, Hervey Bay)
Committee, Hervey Bay Boat Club Yacht Squadron
Member, Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Fraser Coast District Law Association, Jazz Club
Chair, Regional Arts Development Fund
President, Hervey Bay City Musicians Inc
President District Law Association
Chair, Liberal Party Hervey Bay branch
President Star of the Sea P & F Association
President Hervey Bay Public Kindergarten
Secretary, Hervey Bay Sailing Club
Member of HBCC Arts and Cultural Steering Committee
Member of various groups including Chamber of Commerce, Life Line board, Zpac,
Performer, Yag’ubi Comedy Debates, City Orchestra,
Presenter on Community Radio