Federal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson MP

If you pop into Cafe Florentine on Church Street in Brighton one evening you might just recognise human rights advocate and Federal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson MP.

He will likely be sipping a gin and tonic while having a conversation about assisting children in immigration detention or preserving civil liberties. Or it is just as likely the hot topic would be the gin.

“One of Ryan’s (Tim’s partner) and my bizarre obsessions is we collect gin from around the world,” Mr Wilson said.

“Gin used to be constrained to Gordon’s, Beefeater and Tanqueray. Now there are hundreds, including many Australian gins – many are available at Vintage Cellars on Church Street.”

And a further peek behind the political suit reveals a pug owning (two in fact – Louis and Ella) passionate lover of art, a Simpsons fan, a die-hard Melbourne Demons supporter and a regular visitor to the Mornington Peninsula.

But, of course, politics is his big focus and Mr Wilson said social infrastructure challenges, particularly arts and sport, were big local projects currently.

“These need to be fixed, particularly with the growth of women’s footy,” he said.

“And with an ageing population, having access to local arts infrastructure is going to become increasingly important to maintain our community’s liveability.”

Protecting Port Phillip Bay and tackling erosion along the Brighton to Beaumaris cliffs are also on his agenda.

Mr Wilson firmly believes tackling national issues also helps his local constituents.

“The Federal issues we face affect everyone – tax, the budget, health and education. My interest is how to address these to make sure we can balance the budget, reduce debt and fund the health and aged care services.”

On rare down times, Church Street in Brighton is a favourite haunt for the MP, whether it’s a post gym breakfast at Brighton Soul Espresso, a mid-morning coffee at Mylk or lunch at Royale Brothers.

“My parents met at the Half Moon – then called Central Hotel – so it always offers a good excuse for a post-work beer,” he said.

“For a cheap, cheerful dinner I have Pad Thai at Thaicoon, and go to Pantry if I want to impress. For lazy Sunday night fish and chips, it’s Fish Tank.”