• Pat O'Shane is a recipient of the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award. (Supplied. )Source: Supplied.
The Socialist Alliance candidate for Leichhardt is taking on the establishment as she pushes for action on climate change, employment, housing and justice ahead of Saturday's federal election.
Sarah Collard

19 May 2022 - 5:55 PM  UPDATED 19 May 2022 - 5:58 PM

Pat O'Shane is a fighter from way back. 

The Yalangi woman from the Kunjandji clan and former magistrate's strong sense of justice was borne out of watching her parents, friends and relatives fighting for the rights of First Nations people in the 1940s, 50s and beyond. 

"I grew up as a political animal," Pat O'Shane told NITV News.

She is now making her tilt at federal politics at eighty years old for the Far North Queensland seat of Leichhardt for the Socialist Alliance on a platform of climate change action and equality. 

"Climate change is an existential threat and our government has done nothing to try and reduce emissions... the standards of living have gone down, there's no jobs and this is right across the country," Ms O'Shane said. 

Leichhardt is one of the electorates with the highest proportion of First Nations voters in the country, with almost  17 per cent of people in the seat identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

She wants change and action to come from those in power and hopes that inequality facing First Nations people will be a priority. 

"This government has for years been paying the big end of town, they haven't done anything to develop a decent democratic society that is in harmony with everybody's needs and wants."

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She has the distinction of being the first Aboriginal teacher in Queensland, the country's first Aboriginal Barrister and later magistrate but said it was her connection to community and her roots which have powered her success. 

"My mother said 'don't forget where you came from', and I have never forgotten that. I have always remained true to my people and their causes," she said. 

The federal election on Saturday has a number of prominent First Nations people throwing their hat into the political ring in a bid to represent their people. 

With candidates from across the political  spectrum vying for votes as Australians head to the polls on Saturday every vote counts in some of the most marginal seats in the country. 

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