LIZA Harvey has had her fair share of adversity but WA’s first female deputy premier says she does not shy away from a challenge.
With four portfolios and added responsibilities of her new role, Ms Harvey said she would have a busy lead-up to the 2017 election.
“Every now and then I waver with that and I’m certainly not overconfident about my ability to perform the duties but I come back to that I have the endorsement of all of my colleagues,” she said.
“It was a lovely party meeting and when I took the place sitting next to Colin I had a sea of smiling faces in front of me, so I think if they’ve got confidence in me to do the job, then I can do it.”
Ms Harvey said she was looking forward to working alongside Premier Colin Barnett, who provided support when her late husband Hal was battling cancer.
“I’ve had a very tough few years, particularly through that last year of my husband’s illness; it was a very, very trying time and Colin was quite simply fantastic,” she said.
“There were times where I decided to pull out of a function at the last minute because there might be some critical issue at home that I had to deal with and Colin was the one who would step in.”
Elected in 2008 as a member for Scarborough, Ms Harvey said a career in politics was not something she had ever planned.
“I first got into politics through frustration in a way, because back in 2005, the then Gallop Government were looking at a raft of marine parks across the State and coming from the recreational fishing industry we were involved in a lot of consultation but none of our ideas was taken into consideration,” she said.
“I got to the point where I thought ‘I can continue to shake my fist at the TV or I can actually step up and try and do something about it’; and that’s pretty much what I did.”
Ms Harvey has lived in Scarborough for more than 20 years and said she had seen many changes, including the transformation of the Esplanade from a crime hot spot into a family-friendly area.
“The main thing is the cultural change. When I first came here in 1992 there was no way I’d have felt comfortable walking along the Esplanade on a Friday or Saturday night,” she said.
“Last week I came down here after work and this entire place was just full of people, there was Brazilian music playing, families and people from all sorts of different cultures here; it was just beautiful.”
The mother of two said she intended to keep her other portfolios, along with added responsibilities as Deputy Premier.
According to Ms Harvey, keeping in touch with the community was the key to success.
“I have a great electorate, network of family and friends and good teams behind me, so I’ve got the recipe to succeed, but we need to stay in touch with the community,” she said. “If we lose touch with the community, we lose touch with everything.”