Q&A with councillor Morwenna Harslett

Over the past few weeks, Today has subjected the new Southern Downs councillors to a Q&A, endeavouring to discover the person behind the politics. This week we get some insight into newly appointed councillor Morwenna Harslett.

What’s something people may not know about you?

I can speak, to a reasonable degree of fluency, both Spanish and Italian – but I often get them mixed up in a language I like to call Espanliano.

How do you like to spend your free time?

It is no secret that I am passionate about the performing arts, in particular music and I play the violin and piano as well as singing in our local community choir.

What is your favourite part of your involvement in the community?

I love meeting people and hearing them talk about their passions. Everyone’s favourite topic is different and sometimes they align with my passions, sometimes not, but I love to hear what makes people tick. It is passionate people who drive all our community groups in the region and I think that it is these organisations who make our region such a wonderful place to live.

What is a message you would like to tell your younger self?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I think sometimes we get wrapped up in worrying about things that, in the long run, are not very important. Better to save your energy for things that really make a difference.

Who is an inspiration to you?

My grandfather, Bob Harslett, was a truly unique and wonderful man. He was married to a remarkable lady who is widely renowned for the work she did in the fields of entomology, natural sciences and historical research and she won many accolades for her work but from a very young age I knew that none of it would have been possible without the selfless and unending support and encouragement of her husband. In an era where it was very unusual for a husband to manage the home, my grandfather raised three children while managing a farm and was an integral figure in many local community sporting and service clubs. He did all that with impaired vision, though one would never have known this as he never let it stop him.

Which six guests, dead or alive, would be invited to your ultimate dinner party?

Hah! My current fellow councillors – but because there are eight of them and I’m only allowed six guests, you’ll have to ask me which two get left off the invite list in four years’ time!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

For a time, I was a member of Rotary International and they have something called the 4-Way Test by which all actions should be measured. I am yet to find a better way of deciding between right and wrong (although I’m not completely sold on the fourth tenet as sometimes this is just not possible… and maybe not deserved):

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

What are you most passionate about?

A fair go. I believe that everyone deserves it and when given the opportunity everyone has the capacity to achieve amazing things.

What is your biggest achievement?

I hope I haven’t completed it yet!