Standing to speak in the House of Representatives for the first time on Thursday, Helen Haines labelled herself a "defiant optimist".
More than 200 supporters in the public gallery cheered loudly for the new Indi MP, as she removed her black jacket to reveal a striking orange scarf and begin her maiden speech.
She talked about her background, motivation for getting into politics and made a strong stance on climate change, asylum seekers and constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people.
"We are experiencing extreme summer heat, less reliable autumn breaks, reduced winter and spring rainfall and decreased snow cover. We may well see the complete loss of the Victorian Alpine zone this century. Our physical and mental health is being impacted," she said.
"The evidence is clear that we are facing a climate change crisis.
"We are also presented with a once in a generation opportunity for regional Australia to lead the way in the development of renewable energy and to prosper from new economic opportunities ... We need to get on with it."
Dr Haines said she is proud to be one of 132 women to stand as a federal MP (out of 1202 in total) but there needs to be an equal representation of women.
She also paid tribute to the "new power" driven by Voices for Indi.
"It should come as no surprise that the rural communities of Indi have also been seen with a powerful orange glow in the last three federal elections," she said.
A quote from Florence Nightingale - "how very little can be done under the spirit of fear" - started the MP's comments on immigration policies.
"Australians are left asking the simple question of who are we as a country?" Dr Haines said.
"I bring the voices of so many people in my electorate who call for an end to the human suffering that is caused through indefinite detention of asylum seekers and refugees both on and offshore."
She told the story of her life leading up to politics, including moving from Melbourne to the North East for her now husband - "my sweetheart, the handsome Phil Haines".
The speech finished with a promise to serve Indi with "integrity, kindness and diligence" and a strong call for "voice, treaty and truth" in constitutional recognition for Aboriginal people.
Many had travelled to Canberra on buses that left early in the morning from Wodonga, Wangaratta, Beechworth and Benalla.
MPs in the chamber for the speech included Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek, Barnaby Joyce and all five fellow crossbenchers, but not Prime Minister Scott Morrison or Farrer MP Sussan Ley.
A familiar figure in the public gallery, wearing her signature orange jacket, was former Indi MP Cathy McGowan.
She smiled and waved as Dr Haines acknowledged her as "a mentor, a teacher and a friend".
Ms McGowan, crossbench MPs and some from the government such as Water Resources Minister David Littleproud joined Dr Haines and supporters in the courtyard for lunch and a chat after the speech.
The gold broach worn by Dr Haines during the speech was made by Rob Humphrey, a jeweller and supporter from Wangaratta.
It was modelled on the plastic orange cockatoo badges sold as a fundraiser during the election campaign, which became a symbol of the new orange army.
Mr Humphrey has a long-time connection with Dr Haines - she was the midwife who delivered his children - and he was one of the supporters to travel to Canberra.
"I know she's highly principled and she's got the same view on key policies that accord with me," he told The Border Mail.
"I've never been into Parliament before and I can now say that the only time I've been in the chamber, I was weeping. It was very moving, very stirring and historic."
Making the maiden speech meant Dr Haines was allowed to rise and speak on other issues in Parliament and she started immediately, addressing Social Services Minister Stuart Robert on Newstart.
"I, like many others in this place and a growing number of those on the government's side, support an increase," she said.
"When will the government increase the Newstart allowance and will the government consider suing a fairer index for future payments that better reflects the cost of essential goods and services?"
Mr Robert did not commit to raising the rate, saying the government's focus was on helping people move from welfare into work.
"The best form of welfare is a job," he said.