Meet Sonia Smith, Nationals candidate for Buninyong

Sonia Smith, Nationals candidate for Buninyong. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

Sonia Smith, Nationals candidate for Buninyong. PICTURE: JUSTIN WHITELOCK

SONIA Smith knows she is the underdog.

The Nationals candidate is the third candidate to have announced for the seat of Buninyong but believes she can challenge the two major parties and provide a different option for voters.

"People are just sick of politics, if you talk about politics they are angry, and they have a right to be and I understand that," she said.

"When you start talking about improving their community and real concerns, people are totally switched on they care deeply about improving their community."

Growing up on farm, before carving out a career as a lawyer with the United Nations, Ms Smith now lives in Navigators.

"I have always been passionate in justice it is something that has always driven me even as a child," she said.

"I have always been passionate about standing up for people."

Ms Smith admitted she was excited for the political race in the lead up to December.

"Well I am coming into this I would say as the underdog, and I think as the underdog I have proud tradition to live up to," she said.

"The Australia. underdog is something we can be proud of.

"I am country person and they way we were brought up was that we all face adversities and challenges and you get to show your mettle in those situations."

Ms Smith recently gave birth to her first child and said the experience of pregnancy has given her a different perspective on life.

"When you have a child you have a real stake in the future, as a mother you have to look beyond yourself, you are no longer the centre of the universe and I think that is very important," she said.

Sonia Smith answers our 10 questions

How should we make our community safer?

First of all, it's really important to have a culture of respect between each other and I think that something that political leaders have a responsibility to set an example – unfortunately we don't see this today.

I also believe, and I salute The Courier for their campaign (against family violence), The It's Up to Us campaign, we need to make sure through what we write, what we say, that we are taking care of women and children and the interests of those who are vulnerable in society.

Sometimes people speak without thinking so it is really important that we have a culture of respect, and there are practical things to do – better lighting, safer roads particularly coming into the bushfire season and also during flooding all of these things make a safer community.

Should Civic Hall be restored or demolished?

Heritage is a really important value in our society and it is an important asset that we need to safeguard, so I believe there are certainly aspects of the Civic Hall that need to be retained then we need to see how we can adapt it for our future best use.

What action should be taken on climate change?

I believe that climate change and looking after our environment is one of the biggest issues that face us in this century. It is really important that we all see ourselves as custodians of the environment and trustees for future generations.

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal?

Well I have zero tolerance for discrimination in whatever form. I believe in so far as it is discrimination the laws and policies do need to change.

Do you think abortion should be legal and available to all women?

The issue is one I believe was debated comprehensively back in 2008.

I have been around the electorate since January 22 and people have been raising a lot of concerns with me about how to improve their community – you know, how to improve our region. This isn't a question that has come up.

But what I would like to say is that I think society as a whole we need to look at how we do create a safer more respectful environment for women and children. We are sick of hearing in the papers day after day, murders or abuse of women and children, so certainly it is not something that I would reopen and it is not an issue people have been raising with me.

What is the biggest infrastructure priority for Ballarat?

I believe that is it is absolutely critical to have an effective, fast, safe rail system that connects our regions – Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. Rail in country communities is our life blood, it is a way to move people, ideas, it will stimulate out economy and it will stimulate our region therefore I think rail is absolutely important.

Should tomato sauce be free with a meat pie?

That's a great question. I don't mind paying 20 cents for it. I don't mind paying a little bit for it as long it's not too much.

The Beatles or Rolling Stones?

That is so great, can I say Katy Perry, I heard the song Roar – I had a little girl and her sister at my place with her mum and dad for dinner the other night and they did a concert for us and this little five-year-old girl did a rendition of Katy Perry's song Roar and after that I just said that is such an inspirational song.

What's your favourite TV show?

I have to say I really enjoy watching National Geographic and learning about our nature, the wonder of nature. The wonders of nature never cease to amaze me.

What's your favourite meal?

I really like lasagne. I am big fan. I'm (not) pretty fussy – I don't have any foods that I don't really like. 

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