Field Days traditionally attract political parties and members of parliament who set up their party branded marquees and so politicians were out in force at this year’s event, including The Justice Party’s Member for Northern Victoria, Tania Maxwell, who was joined by party founder and leader, former Senator, Derryn Hinch.
Ms Maxwell said that when she and Mr Hinch flew into Mildura on Friday morning it was a beautiful picture to behold from the air.
“Seeing the vines and the Murray River was just beautiful and the weather’s brilliant,” she said.
“It’s amazing to see this event in full-swing. This is my first time at the Field Days and I am so excited to be here.
“We’ve had a really busy morning and the people in attendance have just embraced us and many have come over to speak to us – it’s been fantastic to be here.”
Mr Hinch reiterated his colleague’s comments in regard to seeing the Mildura region from the air.
“Flying in this morning and just looking down, I’d forgotten to be honest how flat it is in this part of the world,” he said.
“I love Mildura and to look down from this beautiful blue sky and see the perfect farms and vineyards and other crops and the various colours − all so neat was quite a spectacle − all you need is some rain.”
Asked about the State Budget, Ms Maxwell said that she was delighted that there was funding for victims of crime.
“I am very excited with some of the measures in the Budget, particularly in regard to the victims legal support. This is absolutely incredible for us,” Ms Maxwell said.
“The Justice Party has been advocating for this. This is the first-ever specific victims legal support assistance funding. I will be moving a motion in parliament to support victims and I hope we can take that further.
“Our hope is that through this funding, victims will have a dedicated support worker.
“What I keep hearing back from victims, is that the offender is always able to successfully have that legal support, and the victims don’t get that.
“The victims have to fight tooth-and-nail to get that representation and it’s costly. And many of them just can’t afford to do it.
“Therefore when they go through that criminal and court process they will have their own legal representation.
“We don’t know what it will look like on the ground when it is rolled out, but it is something that we are so pleased to have.
“It just goes to show, if you push hard for long enough, things can be achieved.”
Ms Maxwell said the Budget also contained some “pretty good outcomes for Northern Victoria”.
“We always knew that mental health was going to be first and foremost and we know that there will be allocated workers available in schools,” she said.
“There was also great news for the hospital, receiving money for their master plan and I spoke to the CEO Terry Welch and congratulated him on that.
“And the Irymple CFA is receiving funding which will allow them to build a new fire station – I have always been an advocate for the CFA.”
Mr Hinch was also pleased with the Budget’s recognition that victims of crime are often forgotten.
“Victims of crime in Australia and in Victoria come last. It’s something we’ve been concentrating on for a while,” he said.
“Justice Party Member for Western Region and State Leader of the Justice Party and former police officer Stuart Grimley has been pushing it hard as well, together with Tania.
“You have to give victims some hope that they are not behind-the-eight-ball every time.
“This is not everything we want but it’s a big start. It’s like when we got the Federal Government to take up the public sex offender register – it wasn’t all I wanted, but it’s a start and it’s now part of their policy.”
Mr Hinch said he still keeps busy and is hoping to re-enter politics at the next federal election.
“I still run the Justice Party and do some television and I’m going to run for the Senate again at the next federal election, either later this year or early next year.
“I think the Prime Minister is adamant that he wants to push the election off until early next year.
“I think the timing of the election will depend on how the roll-out of the vaccine is going and how much he can quieten down the ‘anti-Morrison’ sentiment from women, which has been quite tangible.
He has to go by May next year and likely before the next budget.”