If Melissa McIntosh had travelled to New York's World Trade Centre nearly 20 years ago on a planned work trip, she may have never made it to Canberra as a federal politician.
The new Liberal MP for Lindsay has revealed that the trip was cancelled just days before she was due to leave, initially leaving her disappointed.
"I was going to be staying at the famous Twin Towers," she told federal Parliament's lower house on Monday.
"I would have been in one of those towers on September 11. I'll never forget that day, sitting in an almost empty office in Sydney about 20 storeys up overlooking Hyde Park wondering what would have happened if I'd made it to New York.
"Rushing for a career wasn't so important after that."
Ms McIntosh, a former political staffer and charity worker, snared the western Sydney seat back from Labor at the recent federal election.
The electorate emerged as a fierce contest, given former MP Emma Husar's decision not to vie for the seat after accusations of bullying within her office.
Ms McIntosh says she will fight to create jobs in the area, with members of the local community tired of travelling to inner-city Sydney for work.
The new MP also wants safer roads in the region, which are used by families commuting on school runs as well as tradies getting to work.
"There's nothing more on my mind than our community's safety," she said.
"And ensuring that people's loved ones get home, because I know the feeling when they don't."
The mother-of-three has worked for current Liberal Mitchell MP Alex Hawke, former Lindsay MP Jackie Kelly and previous prime minister John Howard.
Mr Howard campaigned with Ms McIntosh in Penrith during the election, using his Liberal heavy-weight status to propel her profile.
The "proud Liberal" praised the 1950s immigration policies of then-prime minister Robert Menzies for bringing her father to Australia from Austria.
"He came with only a few material possessions, but one of the most important things he came with was his drive to have a go," she said.
"Mum and Dad worked hard for what they built and hopefully I received 100 per cent of the gene pool for hard work and aspiration."
Australian Associated Press