FORMER Leeton resident Hannah Maher isn't afraid to dip her toes into the harsh world of Australian politics.
Miss Maher, who lived in Leeton from a young age until she went to university in Wagga, has teamed up with well-known commentator, author, feminist and advertising guru Jane Caro's Reason Party for a tilt at the NSW Senate as part of the upcoming federal election.
"I've been very interested in politics my entire adult life," Miss Maher said.
"More recently I started working on committees with Reason Australia and got more involved with volunteering.
"Then in the last couple of months I received a message from one of the people involved in the party asking if I would be interested in being a candidate on the Senate ticket. I thought 'absolutely, that sounds like a wonderful next step'.
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"We've hit the ground-running. Jane Caro is just amazing. She's our number one on the ticket and I'm her number two.
"Since we announced our campaign, it's been non-stop, but it's been wonderful."
Miss Maher is hoping to bring change if elected, but throughout the campaigning process is also aiming to educate and create awareness on several issues.
These include improved public education and climate action.
"For me personally, I'm also wanting to have good discussions about LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing.
"I would love to see huge increases in general health and wellbeing in the rainbow community because it is something that we are lacking terribly far behind in," Miss Maher said.
"I would also like to advocate for rural and regional Australia.
"My heart is in the bush. I know there are people out there in regional areas who feel like they aren't being heard. And that's on issues like climate change for example.
"Despite what stereotypes might say about people from the country, I know they aren't true. Our country areas are home to some extremely intelligent people who want change."
Miss Maher has many fond memories of Leeton. She graduated from high school in 2008 before spending a gap year completing a hospitality traineeship at the Historic Hydro Motor Inn.
Following that she earned a bachelor degree through Charles Sturt University in Wagga.
"After that I lived in Perth, Sydney and then back in Trundle with my parents. I've also lived overseas in LA for a while.
"I'm back in Australia, living in Sydney and getting more into politics."
Miss Maher has a love for the performing arts community and has spent plenty of time on stage herself at the Roxy Theatre. She has also shared a deeply personal story, discussing her life as a transgender woman.
"I think it's absolutely important we talk about it because the more we can raise awareness and have these discussions, the better," Miss Maher said.
"We need more out and proud voices in public life. I don't think we have ever had an out transgender person in any level of parliament for example. My journey, like everyone's, has been different.
"Growing up, I didn't know that being transgender was a thing. I grew up in the 90s in Leeton through the Catholic education system. I didn't realise that 'being a girl' was something that I could do.
"I didn't grow up with that language and exposure to people who were like me. But thankfully, I do believe that it is better these days.
"Kids are so connected, there's so much information online and important discussions are happening in these areas. Schools, doctors, mental health care are becoming more inclusive and aware."
For more information about Miss Maher's campaign and the Reason Party, visit https://www.janecaro4reason.com.au/about_hannah_maher.
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