QUT Pathways to Politics for Women alums blitz local government elections

Collage of 13 diverse women's faces
QUT news, first published 4 April 2024

Momentum is building for political change with a new wave of women elected to lead communities across Queensland, thanks to the non-partisan Pathways to Politics for Women program at QUT.

26 alums from the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women took part in local government elections last month, with 13 winning their seats, including two who have been elected as mayors.

Rural and regional Queensland were the big winners with eight QUT alums elected outside of Brisbane City Council divisions, including the Western Downs, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, and Cairns regional councils, and the Ipswich, Gold Coast and Redland city councils.

In Brisbane, five QUT alums were elected across the Liberal National Party, Australian Labor Party and Queensland Greens.

Collectively the successful women represent Queensland in all its diversity and highlight the impact the national program is having in shaping the next generation of political leaders.

Sophie Bougoure, from the 2022 QUT Pathways to Politics for Women cohort, has become the first Indigenous candidate elected to the Western Downs Regional Council.

Fellow 2022 alum Sara Diana Faraj, 22, whose parents fled to Australia as refugees from the Middle East in 2000, won a seat on the Fraser Coast Regional Council as one of the youngest elected councillors.

Jocelyn Mitchell from the 2023 cohort has been elected Mayor of Redland City, south of Brisbane.

And Amy Eden from the 2022 cohort has this week been confirmed the new Mayor of Cairns in Queensland’s north.

Since 2020, 85 women have completed the QUT program with almost a third of that number running in last month’s local government elections.

With the addition of our 13 new Queensland local councillors, Pathways to Politics for Women has now achieved 47 electoral successes nationally across the political spectrum and at all levels of government.

The successful QUT Pathways to Politics for Women alumni are:

Brisbane City Council:

  • Cecilia (Seal) Chong Wah (Paddington Ward) – Greens
  • Julia Dixon (Hamilton Ward) – LNP
  • Emily Kim (Calamvale Ward) – ALP
  • Danita Parry (Marchant Ward) – LNP
  • Penny Wolff (Walter Taylor Ward) – LNP

Cairns Regional Council:

  • Amy Eden (Cairns Mayor)

Gladstone Regional Council:

  • Natalia Muszkat (Division 1)
  • Leanne Patrick (Division 1)

Gold Coast City Council:

  • Naomi Fowler (Division 2)

Fraser Coast Regional Council:

  • Sara Diana Faraj (Division 9)

Ipswich City Council:

  • Pye Augustine (Division 1)

Redland City Council:

  • Jos Mitchell (Redland City Mayor)

Western Downs Regional Council:

  • Sophie Bougoure (Division 1)

Main picture:

Top row (left to right): Pye Augustine, Sophie Bougoure, Cecilia (Seal) Chong Wah, Julia Dixon, Amy Eden, Sarah Diana Faraj.

Bottom row (left to right): Naomi Fowler, Emily Kim, Jos Mitchell, Natalia Muszkat, Danita Parry, Leanne Patrick, Penny Wolff. 

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