Politics program empowers women to stand for NT election


NT Pathways to Politics for Women graduate Asta Hill is running in the upcoming NT general election.

NT Pathways to Politics for Women graduate Asta Hill is running in the upcoming NT general election.

A program run by Charles Darwin University to upskill women to pursue a career in politics has reached a significant milestone, with three graduates running for the upcoming Northern Territory general election.

The NT Pathways to Politics for Women at CDU’s Northern Institute, which has returned for 2024, is a program aiming to increase the number of women in Australian politics by equipping participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in the field.

Asta Hill participated in the 2022 program and was recently named the Greens candidate for Braitling in the upcoming NT general election.

Ms Hill, who planned to run in the NT election prior to joining the program, said it gave her the knowledge, skills and connections to dive into politics.

“First, the major learnings and feedback gave me the courage to put my hand up in seeking preselection with the Greens,” Ms Hill said.

“Pre-selection is by its nature a competitive process, so I needed to go into it with certainty that I was cut out for the job. By improving my understanding of what candidacy involves, I was also able to properly evaluate whether I had the capacity to campaign for the seat of Braitling.

“Finally, the Program connected me with so many exceptional women within and outside of public office, who provided immense support in ultimately reaching the decision to run.”

Ms Hill said one of her biggest takeaways from the program was authenticity was key.

“Whether you are speaking with a community member at their door, the media, or your volunteer base, it is imperative that you believe in what you are saying, and they can hear that belief in your voice,” she said.

“Another takeaway, which I am so grateful for, was that, while party politics can be divisive, there are intelligent, kind and compassionate people from all political persuasions.”

Ms Hill is joined by Suki Dorras-Walker, who graduated from the program in 2023 and was selected as the NT Greens’ candidate for Fannie Bay. Fellow 2023 graduate Laurie Zio was announced as the Country Liberal Party’s candidate for Fannie Bay.

Pathways to Politics program co-ordinator Dr Kate Macfarlane congratulated the graduates on taking the next step in their political journeys, and said the team was eager to support the next cohort to explore the field.

“The program is designed to give practical skills, knowledge and resources to make a career in politics possible,” she said.

“We cover all different aspects of the political journey from preselection, campaigning, being in politics and what it means to represent your constituents, policy making media training and speech writing.

“It’s interesting to watch the journey of women who come in nervous, and we see the personal growth as they go through these learning challenges. They tend to amaze us.”

Dr Macfarlane in particular encouraged women from diverse backgrounds and remote locations to consider singing up. Travel and accommodation funding is available for people who live outside the Greater Darwin Region to attend the 2024 program June 3-7.

“If more women with diverse professional backgrounds and life experiences come to our program, it shows you can be anyone and put your hand up for politics, which is really powerful,” she said.

/Public Release. View in full here.