Kat Theophanous has politics and the Labor party in her blood. But it was not a given that she would follow in her father’s footsteps and stand as a Labor candidate.
“Growing up with a politician as a dad, it sort of means that politics becomes the thing that means that dad is never around, or he is always on the phone or there are strangers at our dinner table”, she said.
Her path to politics started in earnest when in 2015 she worked as an advisor in the Office of the Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson.
“For me seeing her do the things that she did and be so strong and achieve what she did for this community but also state wide in Victoria was very inspiring and it’s what made me decide that I want to get in to politics too”, she said.
Ms Theophanous studied media, communication and philosophy at the University of Melbourne. After graduating she interned as a journalist at the Athens News Agency. She then moved onto a position as an Electorate Officer in the Parliament of Victoria.
Gender equality and family violence issues are high on Ms Theophanous’s political agenda. If elected she will work for more funding to the electorate’s over-stretched schools. This situation is mainly caused by the number of people moving into the Northcote area, which is also connected to the other big ticket item the candidate is concerned about – public transport.
“We just need to make sure that we are offering the [public transport] services needed to cater for all of these people”, she said.
Cost of living is a major issue in Northcote, according to the Labor candidate. She points out that wages are falling behind the cost of living with younger people particularly vulnerable and often finding it hard to pay rent.
According to Ms Theophanous, 40 per cent of the residents in the Northcote electorate rent rather than own their accommodation.
This is why “addressing cost of living issues is something that is important to me”, she said.
At age 31, the Labor candidate for Northcote is a mother with a young baby daughter who was nine months old when the election process started. She is now 13 months and Ms Theophanous said that it’s challenging to balance life as a politician and being a mother.
On the other hand, Ms Theophanous pointed out that it’s important to her to be a good role model for her daughter showing that anything is possible. She also added that she sees New Zealand’s female Prime Minister as an inspiration in terms of balancing politics and being a mother of a young baby.
She pointed out that there is an urgent need for more young women in politics.
Kat Theophanous is confident she will do well in the election.
“Dad says he is very proud. He is very supportive and encouraging. I grew up with three older brothers but dad never discriminated against me for being the only girl and the youngest. If anything, he pushed me to be even better”, she said.