Labor's hope in Leichhardt - Who is Elida Faith?
As a federal election continues to loom over the people of Australia, new challengers for the seat of Leichhardt are beginning to come forward.
The incumbent Liberal member, Warren Entsch, has held the seat since 2010 but Labor’s Elida Faith is hoping to change that in 2019.
While she was born here, Ms Faith grew up in Papua New Guinea where she says she developed a deep love of the environment and a fierce need to protect it.
Ms Faith has never run for politics before, or held a political office, but she believes she has the passion and drive to best represent the people of Leichhardt.
Ms Faith has lived in Cairns for 20 years but ensures voters she is focused on representing communities all the way up The Cape.
“I want to have the smaller towns on board as well,” she said.
“I have been to the communities up here and I hear a lot of people are unhappy and feel left out on a national level.
“I have been speaking with [Douglas Shire Mayor] Julia Leu and will continue to do so if I am elected so I am able to take advice for the good of the whole electorate.”
Having worked on the coalface of human services at Centrelink for 12 years, Ms Faith says she has seen how poverty really affects people.
She said many people in the Leichhardt electorate are affected by poor living conditions and she feels it’s her job to help them.
“I have spent 12 years speaking to the most vulnerable Australians across areas like disability support, carers, and Indigenous peoples,” she said.
“There were days where I would be moved to tears then the next minute I was finding a home for a domestic violence survivor.
“Then there were days someone would share their inspiring story and it made me sit back and take notice.
“I looked at the community I had been an advocate for and realised more needs to be done and I needed to be that person to go to Canberra an be the strong voice this electorate needs.”
Ms Faith said her campaign is based on traditional Labor values with a focus on securing funding for health and education, and protecting worker’s rights
“I want to make sure our schools are funded; it’s so important for our kids to have a great education,” she said.
“I want to ensure our hospitals are properly funded; we all use them but we have seen massive cuts to health under the current government.
“Also, casualisation of the workforce is sweeping the country and talking to the community up here, that is what we are hearing.
“I want to strengthen the local economy to find full-time, secure employment for local people; that will continue to be focus of mine.”
Despite saying she wants to run a positive campaign, it wouldn’t be politics without some mud-slinging.
She took aim at the length of time Mr Entsch has been in the seat and claimed she offers a new set of values for the people of the Far North.
“Warren has been in the seat for a long time and I think he has run out of puff,” she said.
“The community is screaming for some fresh energy and, in all honesty, my focus is on what the community is telling me and what the community want is someone new to represent them.”
The exact date of the federal election is yet to be announced but May appears to be the most likely time for Australians to head to the polls.
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