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Proof that life begins after politics

Date

Michael Inman

Playing out the next chapter ... former Labor MLA John Hargreaves performs with the band the Old 45s at the Burns Club, Kambah.

Playing out the next chapter ... former Labor MLA John Hargreaves performs with the band the Old 45s at the Burns Club, Kambah. Photo: Melissa Adams

''The old war horse isn't dead, he just smells that way.'' Former Labor MLA John Hargreaves may have retired from politics but he has not lost his way with words.

The often colourful former member for Brindabella is proving life after politics can be every bit as lively as exchanges across the parliamentary chamber.

Since retiring after 14 years as an MLA, Mr Hargreaves has thrown himself into two bands, three community groups and a home renovation. And is having a great time doing it.

Mr Hargreaves plays guitar in the Old 45s and performed at the Burns Club of Canberra, Kambah, on Sunday. The six-piece group specialise in 1960-'70s Australian written or performed rock'n'roll. Music makes up a big part of Mr Hargreaves post-political existence.

He also plays with the Tuggeranong Ukulele Gang, and is on the board of Valley FM community radio station.

He is also a board member of drug and alcohol support group Directions ACT and next month will take a position with the Tuggeranong 55 Plus Club.

The 63-year-old said the frenetic work rate would continue in order to help the community. ''I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I was born with my foot in it.

''If I can take my foot out of my mouth long enough to help someone then, for me, it's magic, I love it.''

Deposed former Greens MLAs are also readjusting to life after politics. Amanda Bresnan has returned to health advocacy, working as a consultant for ConNetica. ''I've gone back to my first passion, which is mental health,'' Ms Bresnan said.

The former member for Brindabella has also joined the board of the ACT Asthma Foundation.

But she harbours a desire to work overseas. ''It's something I've always wanted to do and regretted never doing.''

Caroline Le Couteur has also leapt into the non-profit sphere, joining the boards of three organisations.

The former member for Molonglo has become the secretary of the ACT Greens, deputy chairwoman of See-Change and will soon take a job with the Downer Community Association.

She has also put out feelers for paid employment as a company director.

''It's early days [but] I'm not planning on becoming fully retired but I hope to work less intensely than I did as an MLA,'' Ms Le Couteur said.

Ousted ACT Greens leader Meredith Hunter has spent time with family, in the garden and spring cleaning in the month since her shock election defeat. ''It's a change of pace but I'm not complaining because it is nice to spend time with family,'' Ms Hunter said.

The former member for Ginninderra has been linked with the ACT Council of Social Service. Ms Hunter admitted she had applied for the recently vacated director position.

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