Kate Lundy’s speech from the launch

The book launch was a smashing success.  We had a great crowd, and great speakers – especially Kate Lundy.  She shared her journey from Federal Senator to self-employment.  Here’s her speech!

I jumped at the opportunity to play a role in this evening’s book launch because, amongst other things, it gave me a chance to pay my respects to Canberra’s public servants for their commitment to excellence, application to solving wicked problems and damn hard work.

I am claiming to speak with authority on this given I represented the people of the ACT in the federal parliament for 20 years.

And I say it having a comprehensive and privileged insight into the motivation of people who choose to be in the service of the public, that one gains as an elected representative.

The public service work environment all at once demands professional care and diligence, deep understanding of reputational and regulatory risk and how to find a dividend by being efficient. These skills mean that the talented individuals making the decision to leave the public sector are, by definition, highly diligent, resourceful and adaptable operators.

And what better credentials for the private sector are there, than that.

In fact, as accountability grows within the private sector and professionalization of company directors gathers apace, these public sector skills are as significant in their social, ethical and environmental dimension as they are in their financial, economic and organisational dimension.

I contend that it’s this compendium of attributes, that those amongst us already ‘living without their lanyard’, are finding are in significant demand.

As the complexity of all our systems of community and commerce increase and business as usual is disrupted, calls for diversity of experience within the operations and governance of this nation’s companies are losing their hollow sound and have begun to resonate deeply in the bowels of the corporate establishment…..

For those making the journey from public to private, the experience you bring is essential to navigating the segmented, multi-jurisdictional, app-enabled, tribalised, socially aware, service oriented consumerism of our modern era.

In case you didn’t know, I haven’t been a Senator for 3 months and 20 days. I am on this journey.

True, I didn’t have to wear a lanyard in my own office, only everyone else’s, and yes I qualify as a former public servant to being a part of the wonderful CBRIN.

I have some directorships and recently did the Company Directors Course.

None of this means I have stopped caring about the things that I believe in. My motivations and passions are the same. I want to try and make a difference in a different way.

And there is no hiding from the challenges transition presents.

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for those panic moments in my transition to achieving ‘functional independence’.

Leaving after 20 years of having my team of loyal staff and the institution of the federal parliament behind me, was like leaving home as a teenager all over again!

And then there’s the emotional roller coaster of challenges large and small….

  • Like the excruciating frustration when Office 365 on my mac just would not allow my contacts in from the cloud.
  • Like the deeply-felt embarrassment at my first diary disaster nightmare: I missed an important commitment. A diary entry that only I could have messed up.
  • Like the excitement of setting up your own business and getting paid for the first time: yay!

But I know that everything in front of me will be informed by the extraordinary experience I had in the service of the public.

I celebrate all that it has given me and I am grateful for the inspiration I received from the people I worked with and served.

It may be clichéd, but Life is a journey.

Journey’s are rarely in straight lines, rather a meandering exploration of the society we live in and hopefully, the outer boundaries of our individual potential.

In the heady world of perpetual and sometimes abrupt change, when the fog, dust and gunsmoke clears we all still need to be able to sleep at night knowing we are being the best we can be, regardless of where we are in our journey.

Matt’s book provides a meaningful insight into a part of life’s journey that many public servants take. The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny, the quirky, the unexpected and the buzz and he has done us all a service by writing it.

Thank you Matt, for your public service, and for writing this book.


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