TANIA Lawrence is on a mission to change your mind about politics.
The Labor party candidate for Hasluck is ramping up her campaign ahead of next month’s federal election and with a background in government policy making, if anyone knows how to get things done, it’s her.
The 48-year-old Mundaring business owner spent years as a senior manager at mining giant Woodside, before becoming a senior policy advisor to the Premier and now lives on a rural property with her husband where they run a boutique distillery.
Last June she was selected as Labor’s Hasluck’s candidate for the upcoming election and has been on the campaign trail ever since.
Her passion for the people of Hasluck and the unique issues we face, is infectious.
“What I find amazing about this electorate is that people are extremely humble,” she said.
“They’re not out wanting, me, me, me, they’re realistic, pragmatic and incredibly humble.”
Apart from taking people’s wants and needs locally and hoping to make changes through the government, Mrs Lawrence is also hoping to achieve much more than that – a change of attitude towards politics in general.
“I want a change in mindset where people go, you know what, I do want to get interested in politics because I’ve seen the power of it and the possibility of it, because politics should be about the people, not the individuals who are up there,” she said.
“People are disenfranchised and I’m not surprised because they’ve got people that are not only not listening, but then when they do listen, they’re not doing anything about it.”
In contrast, Mrs Lawrence says her background as a policy advisor, designing policy, looking at legislation, looking at regulations and governance, is “very familiar” to her and therefore she will “hit the ground running” should she be elected.
“It just takes more good people to step up, who are not coming at it from a personal agenda,” she said.
“There’s nothing that this appointment would give me personally, that I haven’t already achieved for myself.
“This is purely done as an act of public service because the community needs to know that the country is in good hands and that its interests are for the people and for the community as a whole.”
Despite being a lifelong supporter of the Labor party’s beliefs, she is personally motivated to change the integrity in government, create a bigger focus on climate change and create more local job opportunities.
She is fully aware of the unique climate issues facing the Perth Hills after losing her house in the devastating 2009 Toodyay bushfires and has some election experience after running in the state government Darling Range by-election in 2018 after throwing her hat into the ring last minute due to the resignation of Barry Urban.
She was pipped to the post by the Liberals’ Alyssa Hayden but the experience whet her appetite for a future in politics and her determination to succeed has been evident in the work she has put into her campaign over the last 12 months.
“I know from my experience in government, the most powerful way to get things done is by breaking down the silence, collaborating with local and state governments, working with community groups and being very, very clear as to exactly what it is that we’re trying to achieve,” she said.
“And then work out what the gaps are that as a federal representative I can help fill.
“I want to empower those groups to go after it, be it industry, be it sporting groups, be it community groups.”
Mrs Lawrence has already met with many local community groups.
“I’ve been meeting with all these different sectors and I would be keen to hit the ground running and work with those groups very quickly to be clear on what is achievable across the first three years and beyond,” she said.
“At the end of the day, my job will be, if they need this, or they want to do that, then I will need to be clear and then advocate for them and try and fight for them and get what they need.”
By Rebecca Peppiatt