1 July 2011
Bendigo will become home to a second Conservative sitting politician from today.
Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie will be sworn in as part of the new Senate today, and she will base her office in Bendigo, despite being from Gippsland.
The 41-year-old single mother of four is somewhat of a super mum.Outside politics, she is a teacher, lecturer, lifeguard, netballer, a triathlete, swimmer and has two university degrees, one in Applied Science and one in Education.
She is a country girl in more ways then one, and her father was a milkman for most of his working life.
Senator McKenzie’s decision to set up office in Bendigo’s High Street, next to the National Hotel, is a boost not just for her, but for the Nationals.
At the last state election, Nationals candidate Steven Oliver came within a sheep’s tail of winning Bendigo West from Labor.
Having a federal National, as well as state Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum based in Bendigo, lets the Labor Party know the seat is in the Nationals’ sights.
“The state election result in Bendigo West shows how the party’s platform resonates with Bendigo and the Bendigo community,” she said.
“That, and a great candidate in Steven.
“We all play into that role of promoting what the Nationals are about and what they stand for.”
However, Senator McKenzie said the main reason for choosing Bendigo as her base was more than just political.
“I love Bendigo,” she said.“It is central and it will allow me to get across regional Victoria easily and for regional Victorians to get to me.
“My job is to reflect what regional Victorians think about issues, and Bendigo is the perfect place for that.”
Senator McKenzie listed education, the future of the Murray Darling Basin and small business support as her top three priorities.
“I intend to ensure the Victorian perspective around the Murray Darling Basin is articulated in the Senate,” she said.