FOR Fingal's Dawn Walker it is a love of the environment and community that is her inspiration.
Dawn moved with her family - Alice, 20, Robbie, 17, Ryan, 15, and husband, Michael Rickard - to the Tweed from Victoria about 10 years ago.
She was immediately struck by the environment.
"I'd seen a lot of change down south. I couldn't believe that you could still have this lifestyle. I thought it had been lost," she said.
"You can still buy fruit and vegetables direct from farmers and fish from fishers.
"Kids can walk home from school."
However, she quickly realised the things she loved most about the Tweed were under threat from development pressures.
"I felt the need to speak up," she said.
And that is exactly what she did when she ran on the Greens' ticket for the seat of Richmond at the September Federal Election, winning more than 17% of the vote.
She said the realisation that while it was possible
For young people to see you can speak is very empowering because so many young people reject politics.
to win individual battles to save the environment, changes to law and legislation would offer better protection.
"I wanted to have some influence on systemic change," she said.
She worked hard at her campaign speaking out on CSG and cuts to welfare payments and said she had the full backing of her family.
"My family is very supportive and my children know how to make their school lunches, which helps," she said.
She said her children had benefited from her political involvement.
"For young people to see you can speak up is very empowering because so many young people reject politics," she said.
She is now the Tweed Greens Federal spokesperson, but would not say whether she intended to seek preselection in order to have another crack at federal politics.
"It's too early to say ... but I will continue to be involved and speak up on issues," she said.
Dawn is also an executive committee member of the Fingal Heads Community Association and operates her own consultancy business, which sees her work with small business and non-government organisations on grant applications.
When she is not working in the community or her business she likes to relax with her family.
"I enjoy the beach, walking on the beach, going into the water," she said
"I also like village life, meeting up with friends for coffee."
Dawn also completed a Diploma in Fine Arts and paints in acrylic and oil.
Her work focuses on the natural environment.
"I like to talk about the environment through art," she said.
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