Fin­ley lo­cal’s Vic. role

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By James Ben­nett

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.’’

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