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21 May, 2021

You gotta have Faith

WARM, engaging and a very attentive listener, Elida Faith could easily be mistakenly under-estimated by voters and her opponents.

By Peter McCullagh

Ms Faith announced her candidacy this week for the Federal seat of Leichhardt. The former Centrelink staff member and Queensland Council of Unions President draws upon her 12 years working in Centrelink for the inspiration and drive to help her win the seat at the election planned for later this year.

Cairns Local News had the opportunity to sit down, away from the political minders and engage directly with Elida Faith, to understand why this working mum wants to put herself forward into the political spotlight and what excites Ms Faith about a career in politics.

Growing up in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, spending as she admits, the best 15 years of her life cocooned in a tropical paradise. Ms Faith developed a strong connection with the environment as well as the people surrounding her.

In her late teens along with her family, she moved back to Australia, and eventually after school finished Ms Faith found herself working in Cairns where she has spent the past 21 years.

Set on a career path of working to help and lift those around her, Elida Faith spent 12 years with the Cairns Centrelink office, commencing with the Disability and
Carers sector.

“There were days when you honestly were moved to tears. Dealing with people struggling, full time carers, whose sole job 24 hours a day was to care for a loved one, with little support or respite.

“I could go home at the end of my day, have a coffee with friends on a weekend, but for the carer they had no such luxury or respite.”

“Spending 12 years working in that environment really makes you stop and take stock of your life.

“I was a single mum for much of that time with a young daughter, I felt part of their struggle, the having to do it yourself sometimes with little support.

“I really wanted to do more, with fire in my belly, I knew there was something that I should be, and could be doing… how I can be part of the change.”

For Elida Faith, change for the better and working with the disenfranchised has been a major part of her personal journey for so many years. The future we knew two years ago is remarkedly different to the future we all face in the coming decade.

“There’s greater vulnerability within our communities today, be it the elderly, indigenous, youth or families.

“I am drawn back to my Centrelink days and really want to be part of the change that is needed for all here in the North,” she said.

In 2019 Ms Faith contested the seat of Leichhardt for the first time. Her preselection for candidacy was unopposed.

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