A multitude of issues rocketed Chris Lahy into the Mallee political sphere.
Now the Australian Citizens Party candidate for the seat, Mr Lahy looks to bring his political activism to voters across the Wimmera.
He said his political career began with a chance meeting with a party member.
"I just happened to run into a bunch of activists that were in Swan Hill at the time and got chatting... that's where my journey all started."
Mr Lahy discussed his concerns about the privitisation of water and access to healthcare services, where living in New South Wales presented a problematic challenge for Mr Lahy that time.
"I had a child that was born disability, and I really struggled to find the adequate medical services to meet his needs," Mr Lahy said.
"I found that quite problematic because then I lived in New South Wales, but the services I needed were in Victoria.
"Because I wasn't a Victorian resident I couldn't actually access them."
It was a turning point in the way Mr Lahy approached the world.
"I couldn't believe that if you live in a country as wealthy as Australia, where we have a great medical system, that I was in this really precarious situation," he said.
"I had to travel quite possibly to Sydney or to Wagga Wagga to access services, maybe even Broken Hill.
"Whereas when I lived across the river in Swan Hill there were services; that prompted me to think, 'hang on, there's got to be a better way'."
A chance meeting with a member of the Australian Citizens Party in Swan Hill lead to Mr Lahy signing up.
For the Mallee hopeful, who previously stood in the 2016 and 2019 Federal elections, it's his "activism" that comes first and foremost.
"Elections tend to be a bit of a bit of a distraction," Mr Lahy said.
"It's not about getting elected; that would be great, but I know the challenge I have to be elected into the seat of Mallee but I'm giving it a red hot crack.
"It's a great opportunity to speak into people's lives with very different ideas or maybe ideas that have been forgotten, because a lot of the things I talk about, it's not without precedence, they're known factors."
"It's more than just the election for me, my activism is a daily thing. I talk about all these sorts of issues all the time."
Elections are also an opportunity for Mr Lahy to present his party as a point of difference.
"It's a really good way to compare; when you put candidates in a forum together to speak on issues, it's a really, really good for people to see, 'wow, that's different, that's something that I want to know more about'."
"That's the opportunity we have."
During the election, Mr Lahy has been criss-crossing Mallee far and wide, meeting as many people as he could to help get his message across.
The candidate said there were some recurring themes in his travels.
"We hear a lot about where people are living and how neglected they feel by the current government and by our federal member; we hear that all the time.
"It's like a bent record, but more than that, I think people are really concerned about things that impact them.
"Some of the things that are really evident is the cost of living and the cost of things in general; fuel is a good example."
However the election falls on May 21, Mr Lahy said he will keep campaigning.
"After an election cycle, we all go back to sleep again, but as activists, we don't," he said.
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I am a general news/sports journalist with the Wimmera Mail-Times in Horsham. My work has appeared in the Age, the Geelong Advertiser, the Australian, the Jakarta Globe and across the airwaves on Radio Australia.
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