• Lidia Thorpe, Greens candidate for Northcote (NITV)Source: NITV
Lidia Thorpe’s campaign to be the first Indigenous woman elected to the Victorian parliament has been marred by racism, but the Gunnai Gunditjimara woman remains confident ahead of voting on Saturday.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
NITV NEWS
17 Nov 2017 - 3:46 PM  UPDATED 17 Nov 2017 - 3:46 PM

Bookmakers had The Greens' Lidia Thorpe ahead of Labor's Clare Burns in the race for the inner-Melbourne seat of Northcote up until Friday when Ms Burns jumped to first place.

A Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) commissioned survey puts Labor ahead of the Greens the day before polling, with a primary vote showing Ms Burns on 38.8 per cent and Ms Thorpe on 34.4 per cent.

Traditionally a Labor stronghold, Ms Thorpe's team has been battling to turn Northcote Green and join the two Lower House seats they won at the last election.

"It's going to be a close race, I'm not taking anything for granted," Ms Thorpe said. "I'm out talking to as many voters as I possibly can and we'll just have to see what happens." 

The by-election, which was triggered by the death of family-violence prevention campaigner and Labor MP Fiona Richardson in August, took a racist turn recently when posters featuring Ms Thorpe’s photograph were vandalised with racial slurs. 

"We've grown up with racism, and it's what's made me tough and helped me get through some hard times. I suppose I'm very resilient and I have good people around me, good family support," she said.

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"We'll just keep going as we have been, and that's with the upmost integrity and respect." 

A businesswoman and chair of the Victorian NAIDOC Committee, Ms Thorpe has been heavily involved in the state's treaty discussions since they first kicked off last year. Early on in the talks Ms Thorpe raised concerns that they were not coming from the grassroots and that they seemed rushed.

Speaking to NITV she said she will champion the Greens' position for a clans-based treaty. 

"To have a clan-based treaty is grassroots democracy. I'll be still campaigning to ensure that every clan in this state has the right to decide whether or not they want to participate in a treaty or not," she said.

On top of her commitment of a clans-based treaty, Ms Thorpe said if she wins she will fight for better public transport service, forest protections and rental reform. 

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