‘Forgive yourself now’:The best piece of advice Allegra Spender ever received

Welcome toQuick Q – Monday Media’s weekly Q&A series dedicated to finding out more about the personalities that matter most in the media landscape.

Every weekThe Sydney Morning Herald andThe Age asks key figures across corporate media,business,sport,federal politics,radio,television and culture to answer a series of questions about their lives,careers,hobbies and news habits.

This week’s conversation is with independent MP for Wentworth,Allegra Spender.

Independent member for Wentworth Allegra Spender.

Independent member for Wentworth Allegra Spender.James Brickwood

How did you get your big break?
This big break - being elected. I got it really because over 1200 volunteers got behind me. There is no way I could have run the campaign and reach so many people in Wentworth without them.

What are your daily news media habits?
I read most of my news online,flicking betweenThe Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Australian,The Guardian,and the ABC. I listen to RN in the mornings as well (sometimes at 2x speed - it is a busy time).

Which living person do you most admire?
I admire countless people – like Sondra from Bru Coffee in Bondi who runs a sustainable café and is just a wonderful presence. I just admire people who give their lives and passion to things they care about,and show their care of other people.

Your guilty streaming pleasure?
Total Control,Das Boot and Vigil (my husband loves a submarine drama!)

Which phrase do you overuse?
“You know” – I didn’t realise I did it until I looked back on videos of myself during the election campaign.

What did you want to do when you grew up?
Work for the World Bank.

What was your first job?
Being a “tea lady” at my family business during school holidays – which meant in those days buying people’s lunches and make them tea and coffee.

Facebook or Instagram?
Am more of a WhatsApp person myself.

Recommend a podcast?
The Grattan Institute does a great podcast if you are interested in learning more about policy in Australia. There’s also Education Bookcast which reviews books through a prism of implications for education policy.

What’s one vice you wish you could give up?
Putting too much into my day.

The song that’s always on high rotation?
Dancing in the Dark,Bruce Springsteen.

What are you reading?
The Productivity Commissions’ interim report on productivity! And We Are Here by Cat Thao Nguyen,about growing up in Australia as a daughter of Vietnamese parents.

Favourite movie of the last decade? Moonlight.

Top of your sporting bucket list? Trekking the Annapurna Circuit.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? You are going to make mistakes – forgive yourself now.

What are 3 things you couldn’t live without? I have three kids,so that is easy. Also running,and jumping in the ocean – you never regret a swim.

Lisa Visentin is a federal political reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age,covering education and communications.

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