As a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, Donisha Duff has dedicated her life to improving the lives of others.
She has a strong background in health, education and youth support, and now – politics, after taking part in the QUT Pathways to Politics for Women program.
“For a number of years, I had been thinking about running for politics,” Ms Duff said.
“I was interested in the process of getting pre-selected as a candidate for a major party and what the campaigning looked like for a candidate to be successful in winning their seat.”
QUT Pathways to Politics for Women aims to redress the significant under-representation of women in political life and government in Australia.
With the lessons learnt through the program, Ms Duff is addressing this under-representation in her own community as the Labor candidate for Bowman in the upcoming Federal election.
“I applied for the Pathways to Politics program well before I submitted my candidate application for the Federal seat of Bowman,” she said.
“It was good timing that I was preselected and was able to inform the setting up of my campaign and planning for what is to come.”
The QUT Pathways to Politics program is designed to provide participants with the networks, training and support required to advance their political careers, with a focus on practical exercises.
“I drafted a campaign speech on an issue in my electorate, which was delivered at the end of the course. I have since used it in my meetings with community groups in my electorate.”
“The course gives you time to plan, step things out and test them with great facilitators and mentors at QUT.”
Guest presenters from across the political spectrum feature throughout the QUT Pathways to Politics program, including politicians, pollsters, public speaking professionals, campaign strategists, advisors, public policy experts, and leading figures in Australian political and public life.
“Regardless of political party, these women want to make changes and support other women to succeed in politics. That was inspiring,” Ms Duff said.
She is now juggling full-time work and campaigning until the Federal election is officially called.
“The campaign is like a marathon, and you need to keep pace so that you can make it through to election day, but it’s also about having time and space for my family and friends, especially my young son.”
Being deliberate in managing her personal needs and energy helps Ms Duff focus on what inspires her – her family.
“As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, my family’s history in Australia has been one of hardship and denied rights,” Ms Duff said.
“Being in a position to change the future for our families and communities for the better is what drives me.”