Being a politician means being a public figure and often the public only ever see that public person. Often it is forgotten that politicians are human too so learning about the person behind the politics shows some insight into their lives.
Growing up in what is now Ipswich, in a suburb called Camira, this local councillor saw the cutting down of the bush he played in when growing up.
Jon Raven purchased his first home in Marsden in 2009, meaning he has now been living in Logan for 14 years and has been a councillor for nearly eight of those.
While attending several high schools, finishing at West Moreton Anglican College, Jon found his feet in martial arts from the age of 13 after being badly bullied in primary school. The martial arts rebuilt his confidence and taught him discipline, self-control, and self-awareness.
“I started with Taekwondo where I was trying to get to the 2000 Olympics,” said Jon.
“I came close but didn’t make the Australian team, then I moved onto Hung Gar, I went back to do some Hapkido and finally Kendo.
“I’ve got black belts in all those systems. I played AFL for two seasons with the Park Ridge Pirates and racked up more injuries in those two years than I did in 20 years of competitive martial arts.”
Jon started his working life handing out flyers for a jewellery store in the Queen Street Mall. As time went on, Jon created his own successful asbestos removal and demolition business which he worked hard to grow.
He became interested in politics because of how state government legislative reforms were negatively impacting the asbestos removal industry.
“I wanted to understand how those changes were being made, and who the decision makers were,” said Jon.
“The goal was just to explain to MPs and Ministers how the changes were playing out on the ground and offer some commonsense advice about how to improve the reforms.
“I ended up joining the Labor party to build better relationships and try to improve the legislation from within.”
Jon was still running his business when he moved to Logan, and in 2009 it was the wake of the global financial crisis, and his business was struggling. Relocating to Logan and hiring local staff was what helped save his business.
“Within six months the business had turned around because the people we hired from Logan were hard working and honest,” Jon said.
After nearly a decade of running his business, Jon was ready for a change. He had a young family and was spending a lot of time away.
“I heard that Graham Able was retiring, so I went to see him to ask him about what the job was like and what he enjoyed about it.
“He gave me some great insight into how councillors can help people because of how close local government is to the community.
“This was an opportunity to give back to the community that had helped my business and family thrive and I decided that I wanted to do more than just make money, I wanted to make a difference.”
Jon was elected to division five in 2016 and says there are two things that are the best parts of being a councillor.
“The first is that I love helping people by trying to make government work for them. So often government is daunting, confusing, and frustrating. I can cut through a lot of that and get people the help they need.
“The second is that I’m a bit of a policy nerd. When council gets it right, our policies can help build a city that we’re all proud of.”
Jon is a lover of Asian food, but especially sashimi. His father would take him to have Japanese as a special treat when he was growing up.
Jon has a menagerie of animals including three dogs, Toddy (Springer Spaniel), Ghost (Border Collie) and Suki (Labrador). An albino guinea pig Felix, a pound rescue cat Pinot, and three horses.
Having his kid’s week on/week off, family time starts Friday’s when he picks them up protecting that time with them from work as much as possible. They could go skating, watch a movie, or Jon runs a little Dungeons and Dragons campaign for them.
Jon says the best thing about Logan is the potential.
“We have so much going for us as a city and a community. We’re a young city, we are super diverse and our location in SEQ is perfect. If we’ve got the courage to make some tough decisions and think long term, we’ll punch well above our weight.”
“30% of Logan is under the age of 18 but they are 100% of the future,” said Jon.
“So, my advice is don’t think small, the world is changing so rapidly right now that a good idea can turn into a whole new industry overnight. Young people have the energy and the ideas to change their lives and the world around them. When I was young, I didn’t know what councils did, but our council sees the value in you, and we want to help you thrive.”
“I’d just like to say thanks for the opportunity to talk about politicians as people. We chose to put ourselves in the firing line as part of the role, but it doesn’t change that behind every politician there is imperfect person just trying to do their best to represent their community. It’s a super rewarding job that I love and I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had from the community.”