The Liberal Party’s number two candidate, who owns her own florist shop in Woden, will run in this year’s Federal election with top pick Zed Seselja, and she reckons she’s in with a blooming chance.
Merinda, 45, was inspired to run for Federal politics after “seeing what happened to small business” when the Labor Party regained power at the last Federal election.
“Talking to traders around my shop in Woden, there was an immediate drop of business after that election,” Merinda says.
“I want to make sure Canberra is a place that supports the business community here, as it’s the backbone of our tax system, that’s where we get our revenue.”
Born in Canberra, Merinda moved around Australia for her father’s job in the army, but eventually returned to her hometown when she was eight years old.
A single mother of one, she served as a police officer for seven years and started her own florist business in 2005 to support her son Daniel, now 19.
She is currently studying a PhD at the ANU, researching the impacts of rising CO2 on coral reefs.
“I’ve always found science and the history of the earth just fascinating,” she says.
“I don’t get much spare time though, to be honest, between studying and running the business.”
Having missed out on a seat for the Canberra Liberals after running in October’s ACT election, Merinda is much calmer about her second shot at politics.
“I’m just excited about a possible change of government,” she says.
“I’ve always admired stoic, steady-handed leaders like John Howard. Kevin [Rudd] is what my grandmother would call a ‘flibbertigibbet’, changing major policies all the time.
“I suppose my time in the police force really brought home to me what a direct influence policy can do to improve people’s lives.”