Seeing her own young daughter supported by a private school nurse as a teen drove NSW Nationals Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor’s mission to ensure every young person had the same access to in-school health care.
It also helps that she sees herself as a nurse first and politician second, after a 20-year career in palliative care and cancer nursing.
“I think it makes a huge difference to have some experience and that’s why I feel so strongly that people who have real-life experience of things then come into politics — that’s of huge value,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“You’ve lived it and you’ve worked it and if you haven’t you’ve really got no idea.”
It’s this approach that has helped forge strong relationships with the health sector and result in runs on the board. Ms Taylor, who lives in Nimmitabel with her husband Duncan says she is an “accidental politician.”
It was her work campaigning for better health services for patients in Cooma that caught the eye of The Nationals — and it also drives her desire to particularly target mental health in the regions.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro — who originally clashed with Ms Taylor when they first met — said she was unique for her ability to “cut through bulls..t” but also show empathy at the same time.
Ms Taylor went privately to war last year with her own government and education bureaucrats to secure funding to put 100 nurses in state schools. The policy win is one she now wants to replicate with adolescent mental health teams.