Life membership for Mary

19 Sep 2018 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) by Ivy Jensen ALP Benalla branch stalwart Mary Lou Keogh has achieved a lifetime membership. The former assistant principal and teacher has racked up 40 years with the branch after joining in 1978. I guess my motivation was what happened with Gough Whitlam and his dismissal, Ms Keogh said. That got me interested in politics. Assistant principal at Mansfield Secondary College, Ms Keogh moved to Benalla in 1975, where she began teaching at Benalla High School. She served as assistant secretary and president of the ALP branch for several years and is now the secretary. Its been difficult living in a seat that has only been won by the Labor Party once and that was when the state seat of Benalla was won by Denise Allen, she said. Because it was a by-election, the entire Victorian Cabinet was in Benalla for the day of the vote and that was when Steve Bracks was premier. That was quite significant. Unfortunately we only held the seat until the next election. During her time with the branch, Ms Keogh discussed the issues of the day with members and lobbied the government, as well as organising the booths and handing out how-to-vote cards during elections. It involves a lot of phone calls and driving, she said. I quite enjoy handing out howto-vote cards and talking to people, even if we dont agree, because we are all interested in the democratic system and believe that people have a right to vote and have their voices heard. I also enjoy the camaraderie as were a group of like-minded people and Ive always been interested in social justice. State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes presented Ms Keogh with a lifetime badge and certificate last Monday. Ms Keogh joins lifetime achievers John Dennis, who has been with the ALP for 57 years, and Lloyd Bowditch.