TANIA MAXWELL MP
Member for Northern Victoria Region
I was a youth and mental health worker in Wangaratta in 2016 when, with Wodonga’s Carol Roadknight, we founded a community-led campaign called #ENOUGHISENOUGH.
It stemmed from truly awful events. In 2015, a gorgeous young schoolgirl called Zoe Buttigieg was raped and murdered in Wangaratta. Three months later, Carol’s friend Karen Chetcuti-Verbunt, a manager at Wangaratta council, was murdered near Whorouly and her body dumped in bush near Lake Buffalo.
When these crimes were committed, both perpetrators were on parole. Zoe was just 11. Karen, mother of two, was 49.
We wanted politicians, government and police to know that #ENOUGHISENOUGH! One thousand people joined us in Wangaratta’s main street in March 2016 to rally for:
- greater rights in the justice system for people harmed by crime, especially women and children
- tougher sentencing
- and a parole system for offenders that’s strongly policed to protect us all.
I remember ABC Goulburn Murray reporter Erin Somerville interviewing us at the time. She asked us why we’d done what we did: Because we’d decided – appalled by what families in our communities had just experienced – that we had to be the voice of those who had lost theirs.
It’s a task that’s not yet done.
With the help of many people, I’m working for fair, just, safe communities.
My parents were farmers, and I grew up in a small community in the southern Riverina. I’ve experienced the sheer beauty and bounty which our country has to offer, and hardships, floods, bushfires and droughts that test our mettle.
I’ve worked in Western Australia’s remote mining sector, owned and run a business and, before my election to Parliament in 2018, was in a youth support role with a not-for-profit organisation helping vulnerable young people and their families in Victoria’s North East.
The things most precious to us are usually those that are simple. For me it’s being with my beautiful family and beloved border collie, watching my daughter grow into young woman, gardening and snow-skiing in season. These things keep me grounded.