Finley local’s Vic. role
Former local Tania Maxwell has embarked on a new career journey after being officially elected to the Victorian Government’s upper house last week.
The daughter of Jim and June Maxwell, who still live in Finley, she will represent the Derryn Hinch Justice Party in Parliament.
Ms Maxwell, who now lives in Wangaratta, received 21,993 first preference votes to represent the Northern Victorian region.
Her party is credited with the swing against the Greens, who lost four seats in the election, leaving Greens leader Samantha Ratnam with the party’s sole seat in the upper house.
The former Finley Public and Finley High School students said it was ‘‘incredible’’ to have been elected to start her new role in politics.
‘‘It’s still quite surreal but I’m looking forward to representing my constituents in state parliament,’’ she told her hometown newspaper.
‘‘For the last three years I co-founded a campaign called #ENOUGHISENOUGH. We had some horrendous crimes in Wangaratta and I believed I can’t sit back and be a bystander with our justice system failing.
‘‘There were people in Victoria who were murdered by offenders on parole so I really wanted to take a stand and do something.
‘‘Derryn (Hinch) was always a great supporter of the campaign and he came to my first rally with the Morcombe family, who are from Queensland.
‘‘We went to Perth for a rally and I went to the launch of his Justice Party in 2016 when he stood at the federal election.’’
Ms Maxwell admits she believed she was the ‘underdog’ in the state race, but she knew she had to give it all she had.
‘‘I certainly said if I’m going to do this then I’m going to give it 110 per cent, and I guess I got the support because throughout Wangaratta I’m reasonably well known.
‘‘Northern Victoria is a massive electorate, so I needed to do a lot of campaigning as far as Mildura.
‘‘It was an enormous surprise when I got the call (to say I had been elected).’’
On the top of Ms Maxwell’s agenda in Parliament is the establishment of a public sex offenders’ register, as well as reforms to Victorian surveillance, parol and sentencing.
Ms Maxwell would also like to see better staff to patient ratios in aged care facilities.
‘‘We’re seeing some appalling reports about what is going on in aged care and those residents are not being given the care they require and that’s something very high,’’ she said.
‘‘In the upper house you see all the bills that will be coming across and I’m looking forward to voting on those.
‘‘The Justice Party has three members (in the upper house), and we will make a difference.’’
Ms Maxwell said her new role is a far cry from growing up in Finley, and said it would unfortunately make returning home even more difficult.
‘‘I was born in Finley, I went to Finley Public School and Finley High School. I spent many years leaving and coming back to Finley until I moved to Perth in 1988.
‘‘I did various jobs including working in the mines. The last five years I’ve been a youth worker and studied mental health.
‘‘I don’t get back to Finley as often as I would like to that’s for sure and it will be even less now, but I come back to see mum and dad when I can.
‘‘I still have some fantastic friends in Finley that I still touch base with, so that’s lovely to have.’’