4 July 2011
Friday marked an important day in the life of Bridget McKenzie.
As a Nationals candidate, she won a seat in the Senate at last August’s election but has had to wait until this month to officially assume the position.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce swore in Senator McKenzie on Friday morning.
Despite living in Gippsland, the new senator has picked Bendigo as her office headquarters.
“For me, Bendigo encapsulates everything that is great about regional Victoria,” Senator McKenzie told the Bendigo Advertiser.
The 41-year-old physical education and maths teacher will leave her life as a lecturer at Monash University behind as she travels the state meeting the people she will represent in Canberra.
She said she had clocked up thousands of kilometres travelling the state between election day and Friday.
“I think it’s put me in a really great position to be their voice on the floor of the senate,” Senator McKenzie said. The mother of four children, who has completed a triathlon, is the first female Nationals senator from Victoria.
She said years of playing netball had made her accustomed to travelling the state.
“I don’t mind driving, I am used to it – I am still playing for my Tarwin Sharks but I will hang up my skirt at the end of the season,” Senator McKenzie said.
“I have been slowly working my way down the grades each year.
“Playing football and netball you are used to doing the Ks with 150-kilometre trips, 75 kilometres one way to play.
“I am looking forward to it.”
Senator McKenzie said her political hero was her local MP – Victorian Nationals leader and deputy premier Peter Ryan.
She said she would be a member of the environment, communications and arts senate committee.
Senator McKenzie said she looked forward to using the review committees to advocate for regional Victorians.
“As a National, my focus is on the regions and I am really keen to get started.”