Sandy Hilder

Sandy Hilder

Sandy Hilder retired from a career in health administration in 2019. In 2016 she won the Darling Downs Health “Doing the Right Thing” Award. She has travelled extensively and spends her time reading, attending gym, dabbling in the arts, and spending time with her family and friends – all neglected during her working years. She has an extensive and broad collection of music and enjoys attending live music when the opportunity arises.
Sandy Hilder

I’ve been a member of a book club for many years – a group of like-minded women – and we read literary fiction, mostly with a feminist slant. The discussion more often than not ends up political – we all talk about our frustrations with the current state of politics and passionate frustration with our local member, who has a very relaxed approach to representing his constituents.

When someone in our group became aware that the “Voices of Groom” group had been formed, our club invited Suzie Holt and Meredith King, who became her campaign manager, to a Kitchen Table Discussion. 

Suzie was a breath of fresh air – she listened to us! I was jumping out of my skin with excitement – pick me!  I want to be part of this! I’d never been politically active before – my father was a member of the Liberal Party way back when, but I hadn’t voted LNP since my early twenties, which led to many interesting discussions with my father. 

Full of enthusiasm, I signed on as a volunteer for Suzie’s campaign; I could actually do something to make a difference. In a previous life, I coordinated more than 300 volunteers in the health arena, so I volunteered to organise the volunteer roster for election day. 

When the election was called I was overseas, so I couldn’t begin work until three weeks before election day. Initially there were only about 60 volunteers on the team – 60 volunteers, 51 booths! Placing square pegs in round holes. With this in mind, we decided to cover only the ten larger booths, however this meant the rural areas would be unmanned – we needed an influx of volunteers to do our cause justice.

Suzie and her husband Miles Brodie hosted a volunteer pizza and red wine night to brainstorm – we decided our volunteers would encourage their friends, family and workmates to be part of the team – and what a team it became!

I soon received text messages, phone calls, emails with names and contact details of new vollies who wanted to be involved.  Over the next three weeks I made more than 200 phone calls, updating the volunteer spreadsheet almost hourly. Being a bit Old School, I preferred to speak to our new recruits personally, which allowed me to get a feel of what time they had available and which booth they preferred to volunteer at. 

Sandy Hilder organising booth rosters

The people I spoke to encountered were absolutely amazing. “Would you be willing to work for four hours between 8am and noon on election day?” I asked a retired midwife.

“Dear, I’d love to, but I’m over eighty years old. I’ll do two hours”. 

Dairy farmers had to work around the cows milking times, and Mums and Dads needed to get their children to Saturday sports. Tentative people needed to be placed with someone experienced. One farmer organised colleagues to man booths in some more remote rural booths, as coal mining and inland rail impacted them personally and no one was listening. One volunteer recruited her entire family and made election day a fun day out.  By election day we had rostered 120 vollies in 45 booths.

My work on the booth roster went hand in hand with other volunteers who coordinated the pre-polling roster and organised another team to place corflutes at voting booths the night before and another to prepare booth packs of water and muesli bars.  

I’ve never before encountered people that worked so well as a team – Team Suzie – and if something needed to be done a volunteer was onto it. Team Suzie worked so well, other parties asked if our volunteers were paid!

Suzie Holt and supporters -#GroomVotes

Post election day my husband was grateful to have the dining room table finally cleared of the laptop, iPad, notebooks and spreadsheet remnants. 

My first foray into politics was a valuable learning experience.

I met some wonderful people along the way, and yes, I’ll be there next time.


No Fibs coverage of #GroomVotes