By JOHN DOOLEY

WHEN Senator Derryn Hinch visited Mildura last year, he indicated that his Party would stand candidates in the upcoming Victorian election, and true to his word, that is happening.

Visiting Mildura this week was Derryn Hinch Justice Party candidate for Northern Victoria Upper House Tania Maxwell, PICTURED, who is campaigning throughout the vast electorate, introducing herself and her Party’s policies to locals.

On her way to Mildura, Ms Maxwell, who is based in Wangaratta, spent time in Swan Hill and Robinvale talking with locals, and said she was looking forward to meeting people in Ouyen and Sea Lake and other towns as she makes her way back home.

“I’ve had the opportunity to speak with some business proprietors in Mildura as well as people in the street, and the response to our Party’s stance on a number of issues resonates strongly here, as it does in other places,” she said.

Ms Maxwell is “well aware” of the Karen Belej case, and the lenient sentence handed down to her killer Brandon Osborn, and it’s cases similar to this that led Ms Maxwell to co-found the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign three years ago, which drew the attention of Derryn Hinch, who became a supporter of her cause, and asked her to the official launch of his campaign to become a Senator.

Ms Belej, 31, died in her home at Cardross in May 2016 from a single gunshot wound inflicted by her partner, Osborn.

Osborn was originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and received a nine-year jail sentence. However, with time already spent in custody, and a minimum six-year non-parole period to be served, Osborn could be free in four-and-a-half years.

A recent appeal against the leniency of the sentence was unsuccessful.

“I have a board where we have the victim’s names and when we hold rallies we hold that board up in memory of those victims who lost their lives and pay tribute to them, and that only relates to a narrow category of violent offenders, there are so many more,” Ms Maxwell said. 

“I was attracted to the Justice Party because of the policies, and in getting to know Derryn more, the one thing that stood out to me was the common sense approach, something Governments appear to have lost.

“That was very appealing, and so when Derryn approached me he was actually quite surprised that I said yes because it wasn’t a pathway that I had considered.

“I could have continued to go to Melbourne to have meetings with Ministers on behalf of my Enough is Enough campaign, or I could take a leap of faith and go on this journey where perhaps I can be sitting in that House where I can make a difference.”

Ms Maxwell has a good grasp of the issues affecting our region, including water security, domestic violence and the abuse of drugs and alcohol. 

“We need to attack the root causes of these issues and apply a common sense approach to dealing with them head on, while they are difficult they are not insurmountable,” Ms Maxwell said.

Ms Maxwell was raised on a farm, and said she understands the difficulties sometimes faced by people on the land.

“I grew up knowing the hardships of being on a farm, what droughts are like, I grew up with my mother having to make all my clothes because our family couldn’t afford to buy them, we killed our own sheep and so I know what it’s like being a farmer’s daughter,” she said.

Ms Maxwell worked as a breakfast cook in the mines in Western Australia for a number of years, before which she was a nanny, and in later years owned her own importing business.

She has also studied mental health and was a senior practitioner in that field for five years.

“I do look at myself as being quite versatile and adaptable, and I am someone who can relate to people in many different situations because I have had those lived experiences.”

More information about the Derryn Hinch Justice Party is available online at www.justiceparty.com.au.