Sarah Courtney is not your typical politician.
The first female Minister for Primary Industries and Racing is probably the most widely educated of any MP in the Tasmanian Parliament.
She has three degrees - a first class honours degree in chemical engineering, a commerce degree and a Master of Wine Technology and Viticulture.
Ms Courtney, 38, has worked in the finance industry across the world and was not a party hack or political staffer when she was selected on the Liberal Party’s Senate ticket for the 2013 election.
She doesn’t covet media attention and did not rely on a single issue to get elected.
Ms Courtney was born in Sydney but her late father David, a property developer, was born in Campbell Town and grew up in the Midlands before leaving Tasmania as a young man.
He had been unwell but died suddenly just before Ms Courtney was pre-selected for Bass in the 2014 election.
"He was very proud of his little girl and he died just before I put my hand up to nominate,” she said.
"He was very excited when I was one of the candidates for the Senate team.”
Her father met her mother Jane, a publisher, at a Young Liberal function but they were not actively involved in politics.
“Having always been in the private sector, the only discussions we ever had around politics was more where it intersected with the private sector. We didn't actually discuss politics per se.
"I always knew they were Liberal voters but we never sat down and discussed politics itself."
From a young age Ms Courtney knew her own mind.
"I remember when I was a young girl in year two or three a friend of mine had a birthday party where you dressed up as what you wanted to be when you grew up. I didn't know what I wanted to be but I knew I always wanted to be in the corporate world so I wore a suit.
“It is sad isn’t it, everyone else wanted to be a ballerina?"
A bright student, in years five and six she attended a selective public primary school where only the most academic students were accepted.
"If I reflect on all my years at school my favourite two years of school were definitely years five and six.
"I had a blast, great teachers and made amazing friends."
When she left Ravenswood Girls School on Sydney’s North Shore she had no idea what she wanted to do but had a strong work ethic.
She enrolled at the University of Sydney because for the first time it offered a combined engineering and commerce degree.
"I chose that combination because I've got a strong mathematical and science background but I'm also quite commercially minded and I was conscious I did want a job afterwards but I didn't know where, so this gave me a lot of flexibility about where my career could go.
“Throughout school and uni I always worked. I started working part time when I was 13 as a waitress and worked in my Christmas holidays at uni.”
Ms Courtney was one of only a small number of students in her year to get first class honours in chemical engineering which was weighted on marks.
After leaving university, her first job was at JBWere.
"There were a lot of people with commerce degrees but the engineering degree, the skill set and analytical ability you come out with is quite highly regarded by the commercial side - that's where I had the edge on others.”
Her career in institutional finance and as a business development manager with a Sydney hedge fund saw her travel the world for her overseas investors.
She returned to tertiary study, which she loves, and studied viticulture.
"I like challenges and I like a sense of achievement,” she explains.
Ms Courtney was lured to Tasmania by her family connections and a love for the Tamar Valley, initially commuting before eventually settling in the Tamar Valley.
She lives on the vineyard that she planted and managed until her election.
“After my dad died, and mum and I scattered dad's ashes, I discovered my grandparents are buried out at Hagley.
"I liked what I did in finance and I enjoyed the colleagues I worked with but I always felt there was something missing.
"I loved Tasmania and I'd not really understood the meaning of a sense of place when people talked about but I had my ute parked at Launceston Airport and I remember every time I would drive down the Southern Outlet I would just feel joy.
“It is really challenging to explain, but even where I live waking up there just brings me peace and joy.
"I have made the most amazing friends in Tasmania, I feel supported.”
Her foray into politics came when she joined the Liberal Party just before being selected on the Liberal Senate ticket.
"I got pre-selected for the Senate campaign and that was quite exciting and I was in the unwinnable fourth position but I relished the opportunity to get involved.
"It was an exciting campaign and I was actively involved in two of the campaigns for successful candidates Andrew Nikolic and Eric Hutchinson.
"By the end of that campaign I had decided that this was what I wanted.
“I really wanted to do something that would lead to better outcomes for Tasmanians and make a meaningful difference for our community.”
Ms Courtney says her election in 2014 followed a grassroots campaign and overwhelming support from friends and supporters.
“There was an appetite for change and I think I represented that in gender, age and background.
“I was absolutely humbled and just amazed with the overwhelming support I got from so many people when i put my hand up.
"One thing I have found interesting is the level of engagement of our community in politics compared to many other places.
"When I lived in Sydney I didn't get that sense of engagement from the community
in the political process.”
Despite being an energetic and driven person, Ms Courtney has no big political ambitions.
"Getting into politics for me was never about the end game of I want to have this title.
"The way I operate, and the way I think I'm at my best, is working in collaboration with people. Something I picked up during my engineering degree is that if we work well together we are much more than the sum of our parts.
"Bringing in different perspectives is really important and I like to work in a collaborative way.
"Having a positive culture at my workplace is very important to me.”
Ms Courtney has no specific mentor or role models.
"I tend to seek advice from colleagues where I think they can assist.”
She is enthusiastic for her new ministerial responsibilities and frequently points to the hard work and achievements of her predecessor in the portfolios, Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff.
She has become a fan of the racing industry and understands its importance, both economically and socially.
“There is the obvious economic benefit racing brings to regional areas in terms of jobs and other drivers of economic growth, but the thing I find really important is the social cohesion that it helps create in regional areas and we see that across all three codes.
"There have been issues around animal welfare but i think the industry has a bright future.
"It is amazing people come out of the woodwork who have had a greyhound or a part share in a racehorse. It is part of our social fabric in a lot of our communities.”
She is enthusiastic about the primary industries portfolio.
"We have so much potential in Tasmania and thanks to Jeremy I’ve got a great suite of policies to deliver during this term of government.
"The opportunity exists because of the natural resources we have in Tasmania but fundamentally because of the people we have.
“That's what drives me in this portfolio and I want to see economic and social prosperity right across Tasmania.
“The primary industries policy is a great mechanism to do that and we're already seeing that in a range of areas but the breadth of agriculture we have in tasmania is remarkable.
"We are streets ahead of other places in our level of ability to collaborate both within industry but also between industries and then taking those over to the research side.”
On the salmon industry, Ms Courtney wants to ensure the industry has a sustainable future.
"I acknowledge the fact that there are a range of views on the salmon industry but Jeremy did a great deal of work on producing the sustainable industry plan for salmon.
"We have got some amazing companies in Tasmania that have invested over decades in a sustainable way recognising the importance of having environmental protection that the community think is appropriate.
"It's important we recognise that the salmon industry supports a lot of other industries, it's not just the actual farming and processing of fish. There's a lot of supporting industries around so it is a great economic contributor to our state and I want to make sure that is has a sustainable future.”
With plenty of work ahead of her Ms Courtney finds little time to exercise but tries to run when she can.
“I’m patron of Cycling Tasmania but I do talk about it more than I actually do it,” she laughs.
Ms Courtney doesn’t have a partner but is on good terms with her former husband Michael and is a doting mother to his 17-year-old daughter.
“Bella comes to Tasmania regularly and she came down (from Sydney) for my swearing in,” she said.