A Liberal leader wasn't the first person that came to mind for Jo Palmer when asked which political figure of the past or present she admired the most. In fact, it was a Labor premier.
"I would have to say Jim Bacon," she said.
It was a hark back to her decades as a Tasmanian media personality, mingling with political leaders on a day-to-day basis. But it was also personal.
"I was actually a single mum when he was the premier, he and his wife just befriended me. I've never forgotten his kindness," Palmer said.
However, she was quick to return to the present day: as the Liberal candidate for Rosevears, during a pandemic and with the state under the leadership of Premier Peter Gutwein, who received her glowing admiration.
"I had never seen leadership or strength like we've seen from Peter Gutwein," she said.
"I think he will go down in Tasmania's history as having done an incredible job."
Political allegiances was something she avoided at all costs with Nightly News 7. So what would Jo Palmer, Liberal member of the Legislative Council, be like?
Media to politics
A political career was never on her mind during her time working in the media, Palmer says, although she has always held a "deep interest" and "fascination" with politics.
"Stories would be coming in all the time, you got to know different strong figures over decades," she said.
Palmer's public profile made her an asset for charitable organisations such as City Mission and Give Me 5 For Kids, where she provided her support. She believed this could be applied in her role as an MLC.
"A lot of it has been very much children-focused and health-focused, they just happen to be the charities I've really gelled with," Palmer said.
"It's interesting, when you're in a job for so long, you actually get to see so many of these types of things transition. So what was needed 20 years ago is not necessarily what's needed now, so that's been fascinating to watch."
Liberal Party values
Her announcement as the Liberal Party's Rosevears candidate on February 12 caught all but the most astute Tasmanian political observers off-guard.
Palmer described the party as being consistent with her "personal values", in particular "supporting families" and a preference for offering people a "hand-up" rather than a "hand-out".
But what might those mean, in practice?
"My parents were never the sort of parents to swoop when we had a problem, even though a lot of the time I wished they would, but they never did," Palmer said.
"And I think that's a big part of the philosophy of the Liberal Party.
"In saying that, there are always situations where people are incredibly vulnerable and they actually don't have the capacity to do that, and so great compassion needs to be shown there."
Describing herself as a "moderate" within the party, Palmer adopted many of the familiar positions when questioned on key issues. On whether Tasmania's health system was working effectively, she said it would be "wonderful" if the state "had a huge pot of money and we could just fund our health services endlessly", referring to the party's mantra of budgetary constraints.
On poker machine reform, she took the personal responsibility approach, that "we can't force people to behave in a certain way" and she believed current harm reduction measures were adequate for problem gamblers.
She wouldn't go near the political donations reform debate, as a candidate at least.
But on social and public housing, Palmer was eager to advocate for more to be done in the state's North.
Yet to enter the rough-and-tumble world of state politics, Palmer spends her days door knocking in Rosevears. It's a world largely free of party politics, where each conversation is a new window into every day struggles. These are experiences she wants to draw upon as an MLC.
And one of the biggest policies she hears about is voluntary assisted dying.
Faith in politics
Faith has been present for Jo Palmer's entire life.
Both of her parents were baptist preachers who were missionaries in Africa. Her mum went on to be a missionary in Iraq.
"I was raised in a Christian family and, later in life, as an adult, I developed my own faith rather than just following in my parents' footsteps," Palmer said.
"I have a deep faith. I'm sure that's going to play a part."
Religion has impacted voluntary assisted dying debates past and present, but Palmer believes there is often an over-simplification when it came to people of faith.
Through conversations with her born-again Christian mother and using her own faith as a guide, Palmer believes a key part of the debate is "choice".
"I think the question on the table needs to be about that choice. Are people allowed to have that choice? And we put as many structures in place to try to ensure that vulnerable people will not be hurt in that process," she said.
"As a Christian, for me, my God is all about love and kindness and compassion. I have to look at what's inside of me, but I also have to listen to the people around me who are saying: 'we would just like to choose'.
"A lot of Christians are saying, 'it's not for us, that's not what our faith is, we don't want that, but we don't necessarily want to push our faith on other people'.
"They have a right to choose."
Shape of upper house
As the state's house of review, commentary has centred on the perceived need to keep the Legislative Council independent.
But Palmer believes whatever the outcome of the election, it would be the will of voters. And with the upper house to remain majority-independent regardless of what happens in Rosevears and Huon, she did not believe it was an issue.
"Nobody whose door I'm knocking on really cares about the make up of the upper house. They've actually got quite a few other things that they're really concerned about," she said.
"At the end of the day, [the upper house] is simply going to be a reflection of society and that is the whole point of this."
Goals as an MLC
If a week is a long time in politics, then six years as an MLC is an eternity. So what would Jo Palmer like to achieve in those years, if she wins the August 1 election?
"I have always believed that grassroots sporting clubs, grassroots community groups, are actually the backbone of our state," she said.
"I think in the wake of what our state has been through, it's going to be those community groups who are on the ground and really identifying people who may otherwise slip through the cracks.
"I would like to see them really well resourced."
- This article is part of a series profiling all the Rosevears candidates in the lead up to the August 1 election.