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26 Pathways to Politics alums set to make their mark in Queensland local elections

Twelve diverse women posing for a photo, standing in two rows, in a large room with dark wood panelling

A record-breaking 26 alums of the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women program have announced their candidacy for the upcoming Queensland local council elections in March – including two mayoral candidates.

Hailing from various political backgrounds and regions across Queensland, these diverse women are set to make a significant impact in local government.

12 alums will be running for Brisbane City Council, while others have announced their candidacy in Cairns, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Moreton Bay, Noosa, Tablelands, Western Downs and Redland Bay.

Many of our alums credit Pathways to Politics for providing both inspiration and practical assistance in their campaign endeavors.

“My experience with the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women program has been nothing short of transformative,” says Leanne Patrick, local candidate for Gladstone.

“The program provided me with not only the knowledge and skills necessary for political engagement but also a network of empowering women who have become an invaluable source of support.

“Undertaking my campaign for local government in the region of Gladstone, Central Queensland, has presented its unique challenges, particularly living in a regional setting. However, the unwavering camaraderie and genuine friendships formed through the program have been a beacon of strength…Knowing that I have this amazing community of women cheering me on has been a driving force, making my political journey both meaningful and fulfilling.”

Photo of two smiling women with a Pathways to Politics banner in the background.
Leanne Patrick with Ann Sherry AO, Chancellor of QUT

Candidate for City of Gold Coast, Naomi Fowler, echoes the sentiment:

“Pathways to Politics provided me with the essential tools and insights to embark on my political journey,” says Naomi.

“The course not only equipped me with the necessary knowledge and skills, but also connected me with a diverse group of experts and passionate individuals committed to creating positive change in our community.”

Naomi Fowler in a matching brickt blue blazer and skirt, talking to a small group of women
Naomi Fowler

Since its launch at QUT in 2020, the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women program has seen 85 women from across the political spectrum complete the program. From campaign planning to speechwriting and media training, the program supports women to realise their capabilities and navigate the complexities of running for office at local, state and federal levels of government.

Professor Vicky Browning, Director of the QUT Pathways to Politics program, extends her congratulations, saying, “We are immensely proud to witness the impact of our program as these remarkable alums step forward to lead in their communities. Their dedication reflects the success of our program in nurturing and empowering diverse women across the political spectrum.”

Pathways to Politics founder Carol Schwartz AO also applauded the alums who have put themselves forward:

“As we celebrate this remarkable achievement of seeing an unprecedented number of our alums running in Queensland local elections, we also recognise the broader momentum we are building nationally. With programs now established in every state and territory, we are not just shaping local politics, but paving the way for transformative change on a national scale.”

We wish our 26 alums all the best in their campaigns, confident that they will bring positive change to their respective communities.

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