Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Glenyys Romanes MP
ALP Member for Melbourne in the Legislative Council ( Upper House ), Government Whip

Governments and Communities in Partnership

Governments can't do it alone. Communities can't do it alone. We have complementary roles to play in the human drama of building and nurturing strong, tolerant and inclusive communities which can withstand the ongoing pressures always threatening to fracture communities.

In my view local governments have the strongest links with local people and are the key to building inclusive communities. They are a focus for local activity and initiative. Their leadership, both at the political and organisational levels, can make a significant difference in the way multicultural issues are handled and whether the needs of different communities are addressed. It does make a difference if the local council or shire shows clearly that they recognise and value the different contributions made by the many ethnic communities in their municipality, if they listen and respect different viewpoints and if they are constantly striving to better respond in culturally sensitive ways.

Political leadership by state governments can likewise influence attitudes across the state and reinforce the importance of developing policies on diversity and making funding commitments to programs and projects which foster inclusiveness. For example, after widespread community consultation,the three priority areas for growth funding in the Victorian HACC program were for Koorie, multicultural and homeless communities.

Glenyys Romanes MLC

Member for Melbourne Province, Government Whip in the Legislative Council

Glenyys Romanes grew up in Coburg and has lived in Brunswick for over twenty years with her husband Graham and three sons.

Glenyys taught for ten years in secondary schools in Shepparton, Zambia and inner Melbourne. In the early 1980s Glenyys and Graham job-shared as State Director of Community Aid Abroad (CAA). Later she became full-time project coordinator of CAA's development programs. In this capacity Glenyys worked with Aboriginal groups and groups in Central America, the Pacific, and southern Africa to provide practical and lasting solutions to their problems.

From 1994 to 1999 Glenyys worked as a Senior Investigation Officer with the Commonwealth Ombudsman with a focus on immigration complaints. This experience gave Glenyys greater understanding of government systems and how to improve them.

Glenyys was a councillor in the City of Brunswick in 1991-94, and was the last mayor of Brunswick (1993-94) before the State Government changed all municipal boundaries, amalgamated councils and appointed commissioners to run local government.

As mayor of Brunswick, Glenyys gave leadership and strategic direction to the City of Brunswick, especially during the State Government's imposed amalgamation process. Following the sacking of the councillors in June 1994, Glenyys worked with others towards making the commissioners accountable to the local community during their term of appointment. She was a founding member of the Victorian Local Governance Association.

With the return to local democracy in 1996, Glenyys was elected to the new Moreland City Council as the councillor for the Lygon Ward.

As a community activist and councillor, Glenyys worked on a range of issues including planning and building, transport, housing, women's issues and the environment.

Glenyys was elected Member for Melbourne Province in September 1999 and appointed Government Whip in the Legislative Council.

Glenyys hopes to bring the same commitment and capacity for hard work, which she has demonstrated as a community activist and local councillor to represent the concerns of the people of Melbourne Province in the Legislative Council.

Plenary Speaker


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001