The direction of local government in south-west Victoria and the principles of America's famed founding fathers are an unlikely combination.
But when discussion at a recent forum in Port Fairy regarding female representation on council turned to a possible limitation on the numbers of terms served by councillors, the parallels became clear.
As the gathered women from Moyne, Corangamite and Warrnambool discussed the possibility of capping the number of terms served by councillors, they had some background on the issue to draw on from one of the world's biggest democracies.
The founding fathers of the United States had a clear vision for their new nation after victory in the Revolutionary War against the British.
The shackles of the old world had been broken and the freedom that came with a new start had them charging forward on their new course.
George Washington was already a hero of the Revolutionary War, and his standing as the leader of these United States was made official when he was elected unopposed as the first president in 1789.
He was unanimously retained for a second term four years later and had a third at his feet heading into the 1797 election. But Washington made the call to forgo a third term, believing it would safeguard against what was seen by Americans at the time as the tyrannical power yielded by the British crown during colonial times.
While the American constitution did not limit presidential terms, Washington's was a clear message to his countrymen/women.
It was a stance that the American people followed until the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which began in 1933. By the time of his death in office in 1945, Roosevelt was into his fourth term, the only president to break the two-term barrier.
And while Roosevelt was considered one of the US' most influential leaders, the generational independence of the American people was still a telling factor in the country's future.
Despite the success of Roosevelt and the beyond two-term experiment, the legacy of Washington was even more powerful. A 22nd amendment to the constitution was passed in 1951, limiting future presidents to two four-year terms.
This safeguard against tyrannical power has been one Australia has not seen the need to bring into its government at federal, state or local level.
Robert Menzies served as prime minister for 17 years, while Henry Bolte spent the same amount of time as Victorian Premier.
In local government, a number of south-west councillors have taken the time served to another level.
Moyne's Jim Doukas and Corangamite's Ruth Gstrein have been on the job for their respective municipalities for two decades, with both first elected in 2002.
Cr Doukas said his service to the community was entirely determined by Moyne's ratepayers.
"I enjoy being a councillor and if the people want me and think I'm doing a good job then they elect me," Cr Doukas said.
"It's all on merit, whether you're a man or women, where you're from, the people decide.
"I think experience is important, it's great to get some new faces in but knowing how things work from a number of years in the job can't be discounted."
While Cr Doukas said he would again run for council in 2024, "god willing", Cr Gstrein is yet to commit to another campaign.
The Corangamite mayor said she was focused on her current term and was still excited about what she could do for the community.
Like Cr Doukas, she said she was guided by her shire's voters.
"Every four years we are judged on the work we do when the people cast their votes," Cr Gstrein said.
"The people decide who they want to represent them.
"I have always had a passion for the job and I have had the support of the community. As long as that is happening then I don't see the need for a limitation on terms served. I don't see any advantages in term limitations."
Cr Gstrein said local government level was closer to the people, with greater buy-in from councillors, because they are very much an every day part of the community.
She said this brought a level of trust that created less chance of someone staying on for long periods who might be out of touch with the community.
As well as her role at Corangamite, Cr Gstrein is the rural deputy president of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
She said the issue of limiting the amount of terms has not come up at MAV level.
Warrnambool City mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said there were sound cases for the introduction of a limit on terms and also for the status quo.
Cr Jellie said if the issue was to be looked at in an official capacity, then a uniform approach was essential.
"If a decision was made to limit terms served it would need to be a clear policy for the whole state," Cr Jellie said.
"The MAV would have to ensure every local government area was on the same page, you couldn't have different municipalities with different rules."
While the long service of Crs Doukas and Gstrein show voters in the south-west can be loyal to a candidate they have backed before, they are also not afraid to vote for change.
In 2020, it was a major upheaval at the Warrnambool City Council table, with all five incumbent councillors who stood for re-election, voted out. This created a council of seven new faces, including Cr Jellie stepping into the role of mayor.
At Corangamite the election was less dramatic, although five new councillors took up their seats in 2020.
Cr Gstrein and another experienced campaigner, Cr Jo Beard, won re-election.
Moyne was the most stable of the municipalities, with three new councillors.