Why are you running for Council?
First and foremost I want my generation (Gen Y / Millennials) to have a voice in Darwin. The Council currently doesn’t represent the majority of its’ residents who are responsible for Darwin’s status as the youngest capital city by age group in Australia, which is in fact 33 years. There is simply no one on Council of this age group, and I’d like to change that.
I believe our generation and the generation after us (Gen Z) are the future of Darwin, and the Northern Territory, and should play an active role in shaping that future with an active voice on Council.
Second of all, I believe that Darwin as a city needs to start thinking BIG in order to keep more people from leaving, and entice more people to come to Darwin and stay for good. I’m afraid that will not happen until there is a working team on Council that is not only more representative of the demographics, but is actually able to work together and get things done for the greater good of the community, and not self promotion.
I believe we have an opportunity to really capitalise on the way Darwin has been repositioned in the minds of ‘southerners’ as a safe place to live. I’d like Darwin to be more than that. A fun, progressive city which says ‘yes’, more than it says ‘no’ to BIG ideas. A Darwin that is more daring, and strives to always lead rather than follow. And a community that enjoys spending more time outside rather than inside because of the modern, and practical facilities available to them.
I think that is the new Darwin we all want to see. So let’s do it already.
Why should I/we vote for you?
I would love your vote if you feel like my vision for a new Darwin aligns with yours. If you’re someone who does not like change, or is happy with the way Darwin is being steered and by whom, then I am not the candidate for you.
However, if like me you believe Darwin needs to realise its full potential by getting things done that will put it on the map nationally, and make more people want to live and work here sooner rather than later, then you should consider giving me your vote.
I am not going into this election with promises only to get your vote, get elected and then not deliver. I am going into this election with a fresh set of eyes, an ability to ‘shake the tree’, and a high level of persistence to push hard and get things done for my community. If these are qualities that you’d like to inject into this Council, then I would be very happy to receive a vote from you at this election.
You are running for the LYONS ward. Where is that?
The LYONS ward consists of the following suburbs:
- The Gardens
- Stuart Park
- The Narrows
- Darwin CBD
You will find the current LYONS ward elected members (aldermen) by following this link to Council’s website. Unfortunately Fannie Bay has been excluded from the Lyons ward and allocated to the Chan ward because of the increase in population in the Darwin CBD.
When is the election? Can I vote early?
Early voting centres will open on Monday, 16th of August. The actual election day for your local area, including the LYONS ward is set for Saturday 28th of August. Your local voting centre might be a school, a library or a community hall.
How should I vote, if I want to vote for you?
I have designed a How to Vote Card – you’ve probably seen these before at previous elections. If you follow this card in numbering your votes, you will give me the best chance of getting elected. See image below:
What’s been your community involvement to date?
Since moving to Darwin, I have set up the Czech & Slovak Association of the NT after I learnt there was many more Czechs & Slovaks in and around Darwin than I initially thought. Not only that, there is actually some significant history here in the Northern Territory – a man by the name of George Chaloupka OAM (*2011) played a vital role in the formation and protection of Australia’s largest national park, the Kakadu National Park based on his documentation of ancient rock art sites across Arnhem Land. He was also known for his advocacy work towards the formation of the first Aboriginal Land Rights movement in 1976.
I have also been involved with the local social outdoor exercise group Bar Brothers & Sisters Darwin which was founded by brothers Jerome & Zachariah Thorbjornsen in 2016. I was part of the original crew that started the workout ‘meet-ups’ at East Point Reserve. Since then, the group has grown significantly in numbers, particularly after 2019 when the East Point Street Workout was built on site of the original exercise station which was already in need of a replacement before it was badly damaged by a fallen tree during Cyclone Marcus in 2018.
I have also previously managed the coordination of 30x active volunteers for the Orange Sky Laundry van in Darwin for a period of about 4 months late 2019. Working with homeless people, and providing them with the opportunity to take a hot shower, wash and dry their clothes, and listen to the life stories of the homeless has been a very humbling experience. So much so I would recommend everyone should do it for a week, to realise how fortunate we are to have a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, food to eat, and friends or family to come home to.
What background / heritage are you?
I get asked this question a lot. Especially here in the Territory.
I was born in 1989 in the second largest city of the Czech Republic; Brno, which sits about 80kms North of Vienna, Austria. I am a Czech-Australian Dual Citizen. My father’s side has Czech/Bulgarian heritage, and my mother’s side has Czech/French heritage. I speak fluent Czech and English.
I cannot count on two hands how many times I have been asked if I am Aboriginal while living in the Territory over the past 5 years, especially by Aboriginal people themselves. I’ve recently been adopted by Yolŋu of East Arnhem Land as Djarra (meaning: ‘seagul’) with Gamarrang as my skin name. Narra Yolŋu yaku Djarra – My Yolŋu name is Seagull.
I also have a very close friendship with the Kungarakan people of Litchfield National Park, where I feel very much ‘at home’. There is a connection on their country to my country of origin. A replica of a Czech medieval fortress once belonging to the Bohemian Kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire – Karlstejn (*1348). The replica sits in the township of Batchelor, in Havlik Park.
What do you do for work?
I work for a national not for profit organisation called Many Rivers as a Micro-enterprise Development Manager, overseeing Darwin and the East Arnhem Land Region of Nhulunbuy, Gapuwiyak, Ramingining, and various surrounding homelands. My role primarily focuses on helping people get off welfare by creating their own economic opportunities in starting their own business. I work in close collaboration with other organisations and government agencies, such as DEAL (Developing East Arnhem Land Corporation), NIAA (National Indigenous Australians Agency), Department of Trade (Northern Territory Government), ELP (Enterprise Learning Projects), and IBA (Indigenous Business Australia) to name a few.
Prior to this role, I worked for the Department of Trade (Northern Territory Government) as a Small Business Champion and Economic Development Officer first across the Barkly Region in implementing parts of the Barkly Regional Deal, and then the Greater Darwin Region assisting businesses of all sizes with overcoming operational, strategic, or financial challenges through available grants and assistance.
Are you a member of any Political Party in the Northern Territory?
No, I am not. I have never been a member of any political party.
I am of the opinion that it’s best to stand on neutral ‘apolitical’ ground as an elected member of Council to be able to effectively work with both sides of Government in progressing the city forward.
How did you end up in Darwin?
It was a cold winter’s day in Adelaide in July 2016 when my partner and I decided to go to Fiji for a week on a whim. A much needed adventure from a city that was starting to grind us down in more ways than one. Fiji was amazing, and taught us many lessons. After a week of surfing, snorkelling, and chilling by the pool we returned back to cold Adelaide. It was then we both knew it was time to move somewhere warmer. So I started looking for work and within about 2 weeks after that managed to get a job in Darwin after a 15 minute phone interview. I still laugh about that now, because it was a very ‘Territorian’ job offer “yeah mate you’ve got the job, when are you coming up?”. I landed in Darwin in the middle of August 2016, and started on the 22nd. And I am still here all those years later, and still very much in love with the place.
Do you have an education?
Yes, very fortunate to be able to say that I do, and my work with Many Rivers’ remote clients throughout the Northern Territory makes me realise that even more so.
- Bachelor of Media Arts, University of South Australia
- Master of Marketing (Sc.) – Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia
- Master of Project Management, formerly Master of Public Health – University of Sydney (*deferred)
What are you passionate about?
Apart from getting things done, I am passionate about health & fitness. I love sport, because it has and continues to be a huge part of my life. I regularly exercise using my own bodyweight with the Bar Brothers & Sisters of Darwin (follow them on Instagram @bbns_darwin) at the East Point Street Workout. I find this tremendously helpful for my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
I used to be a competitive swimmer back in the day, a state champion with the Burnside Swimming Club (SA) under coach Graeme Brown. My strongest event was the 50, 100 and 200m Breaststroke, as well as the 50, 100, and 200m Freestyle. I disliked Butterfly and Backstroke, and was never into long distance swimming.
Can’t say the same about running though. I am looking to compete at next year’s WestMacs Monster Ultra Marathon in Central Australia, which has to be one of the toughest on the world stage. It is as much about mental strength as it is about the physical strength. This year I was lucky enough to be part of a support team with a world champion ultra marathon runner David Turnbull who is a huge inspiration.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
While working in Tennant Creek (Barkly region), during the coronavirus emergency, I hit a real low mentally. There was just nothing to do, and with Police check-points on both ends of a very remote town, I had to get creative around keeping up my physical (and mental) health. So I found a big boulder which weighed 38.5 kg – I weighed it – and I used to carry it for 4.5 kilometres from the Stuart Highway up to Mary Anne Dam and back without dropping it. I called it The Rock Challenge. It was my way of finding comfort in discomfort. The first time I did it was the worse and I was never closer to dropping the rock then I was then. The scorching heat of the Central Desert, and a couple of hundred flies on my face crawling into my ear, nose, eyes. I questioned my sanity on that walk, but I persevered and made it back just fine. I fell in love with the Rock Challenge over time. I did it in the middle of the night once because I couldn’t sleep and felt my body just wanted to go, so I went. It was 11pm, and the path was illuminated by moon light. I dare say it was a meditative experience in itself. I’ve never seen the stars closer to the ground in my life.
The Rock Challenge has taught me many lessons, and has had a big impact on my life. Since leaving TC in June 2020, I have driven through town twice, and found my rock. It’s still in the same place where I put it down.
What are your hobbies?
I love to travel, and explore new places. I have an admiration for three places in particular apart from the Top End. They are Central Australia, Czech Republic, and Indonesia.
I enjoy surfing and Indo is a great place for that. It’s also why I have a 125cc scooter. Not only do I enjoy scooting around Darwin at various time of the day (and night haha), but I love the feeling of freedom on two wheels. Can’t wait to be able to travel again, and take my surfboard! Besides surfing, I like nature photography – I shoot on Fuji XT3, but I typically only have the time to do so while on holidays.
What sort of music do you listen to?
I listen to most genres, including classical music from time to time. There is only one genre I dislike, and that’s heavy metal. One of my favourite bands of all time is Sigur Ros (Iceland), followed by artists such as Leif Vollebekk (Canada), LOS LEO (Adelaide, SA), Anthony Hamilton (USA), LEON (Sweden), and recently FUEGO (Dominican Republic/USA) who’s got some awesome Latin-American mambo-urban tunes in language. I also enjoy the classics like Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, Robbie Williams, and various others from the era of my childhood. I also love good country music from artists such as Brett Young, Eric Church, Adam Doleac, and George Strait. Can’t go past the Bar Brothers & Sisters Darwin playlist on Spotify either, it’s what we listen to during our workouts Monday to Friday afternoons at East Point Street Workout.