I wont comment too much because as a friend and former Green party colleague of Amanda I am not at all unbiased. She is a member of the forum herself as well.
But I would completely back up what Jan has to say. Amanda has overcome addiction and other problems and got herself together, got herself a law degree and works hard on community issues on behalf of others. This is not only a recommendation of her character but also allows her to speak on many relevant issues from a first-hand perspective. How many other politicians who speak about drugs, sex workers etc. can do so with the first-hand understanding of the issues that Amanda has? Amanda is passionate about fixing these problems because she knows exactly how devastating they can be. When she speaks about issues like this you have to take her seriously because she clearly knows what she's talking about.
Anyway, I'm clearly biased and Amanda's more than capable of defending herself anyway. I'm vey proud to call her a friend and hope she does well both in the upcoming by-election and subsequent general election.
Thanks for the support guys, I knew this might come out, and was going to put a press release out about it, but backed down because of my younger kids. I am an adult and am not someone to run away from my trouble, but I didn't want this to hurt my kids. I had discussed this with my older kids and my family before I stood, and they wanted me to go for it, because they know I am a committed and passionate fighter.
Someone phoned Green Party head office on Monday to inform them of my past, and when the Green Party said they knew all about it and had no issues about it, the same person went to the Papers.
I know the person who did it, and she has a problem with me on a personal level, and it was that which motivated the expose. I am glad it is out in the open, because I don't like secrets and I'm very grateful that it was dealt with more as a factual thing than a hyped up hatchet job.
I can't change my past, and I am not expecting any sympathy because I made my own choices and had to deal with the fallout those choices brought on, but I can change my future and hopefully the future of others who cannot see a way forward in their lives.
Finding God, helped me get through a very dark period in my life and started the process of me being able to forgive the people who have hurt me in my past and just as importantly to forgive myself. Although I am far from a model christian, He has informed my choices since and has helped me move towards becoming a better person.
I don't need anyone's approval because he knows my heart and motivations and I am happy that I have found a better way to exist. I will carry on fighting for what I believe is right, either in an official capacity or not, as politics is not just about elections, it's about the way we live and respond to our fellow man.
We need to re-build our communities and try to turn our kids away from the greed and consumersim that is destroying our neighbourhoods and planet, but we need to live the change we want to see.
I must say that personally I am more worried about voting for someone who makes a noise about the effect of god on their behaviour, than for someone who was into drugs, or was a sex worker in their past.
I'm aware that my comment above is not expressed as well as it might be (which is my fault, but I'm struggling to find better words). I have nothing against religion of any kind, and I know many people who have found it to be a great help, and who put it at the centre of their lives, and whose behaviour I very much admire. However, I also know people who have been at very weak points in their lives and who have "found" god in a way which, to my inexpert eyes, seemed like replacing one emotional crutch with another. For instance, it scares me to hear Bush say that god told him to go to war.
I must stress that this is just my personal view, and I am aware that it is probably not very widely shared. Obviously if you believe in any sort of god then it's going to be at the centre of what you do, and I suppose it's naive of me to think otherwise, but I do object to people bringing religion into (what I hope is still) a secular society.
It's nice to have an interesting candidate, most seem identikit. We all make mistakes and most people have done things wrong (even if they didn't get caught), and I don't think anyone could say that the Green Party are hypocrites as they don't try to force morals down people's throats.