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Northern Institute

Pathways to Politics Program for Women NT

Changing the face of politics
Graduate Rosanna De Santis and The Administrator


Applications for next round will open in early 2024

The Pathways to Politics Program is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders.

We are proud to be working with a national network of universities that share our mission to change the face of politics in Australia. You can find out more about the Pathways to Politics national network.

About the program

This initiative of the Trawalla Foundation, Women's Leadership Institute Australia and the University of Melbourne seeks to address the underrepresentation of women in Australian politics and is delivered in partnership with state and territory-based university partners the University of Melbourne, QUT, UNSW, Charles Darwin University, the University of Adelaide and the University of Canberra.

As the only program of its kind in the Northern Territory, NI's Pathways to Politics is a non-partisan initiative designed to increase female participation in all levels of government.

Who can apply?

NI's program is open to female-identifying and non-binary residents of the NT. You will become part of an extensive, supportive national network of diverse and highly motivated women from various political,  professional,  and cultural backgrounds, all dedicated to making a tangible difference in the political landscape. There is no cost to participate in this program.

Guest presenters from across the political spectrum feature throughout the program, including politicians (both sitting and retired), pollsters, public speaking professionals, campaign strategists, advisors, public policy experts, and leading figures in Australian political and public life.

"For more than 20 years I've been passionate about improving the quality of leadership and decision making in Australia. Sadly, Australia continues to suffer from a chronic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and currently ranks as 51st in the world when it comes to the representation of women in government." - Carol Schwartz AO, Chair, Trawalla Foundation

Pathways to Politics was initiated through the vision of Carol Schwartz AO, Chair of the Trawalla Foundation, who fundamentally believes in the value of more female leaders.

For Carol, this is about optimising outcomes for our country by ensuring that men and women share power, leadership and decision-making together.

three program participants listening at opening event

Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible for the program, you must be an Australian citizen/Australian permanent resident/holder of a permanent Humanitarian Visa, female-identifying or non-binary in gender identification, and a Northern Territory resident.

Participants will be selected on a competitive basis against the following criteria:

  • Commitment to seeking elected office.
  • Leadership experience.
  • Professional and life experience.
  • Political engagement.
  • Ability to tell your story compellingly.

Equity Criteria

Pathways to Politics for Women is committed to minimising barriers to entering politics. As such, applicants identified by the selection committee as coming from an equity cohort will be prioritised.

To be eligible to apply for a position in this equity category, applicants must satisfy the application selection criteria and also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Identify as LGBTQIA+
  • Previous status as a refugee or current holder of a humanitarian visa
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse background
  • Disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances
  • Disability or chronic medical condition
  • Difficult personal circumstances
  • Coming from a rural or isolated area.

The Pathways to Politics for Women Program is FREE, but you must apply to be considered. 

Participants and Panel Politicians


Supporters and politicians:

Annabel Crabb, journalist and television presenter:
"Pathways to Politics doesn't just bewail the undersupply of women in public office: it takes practical steps to address the problem, equipping women with the skills and confidence to get involved…. It's an invaluable down payment on a better kind of politics. "

Samantha Ratnam MP, Leader of the Victorian Greens:
"I continue to be impressed by the grounding that participants receive through Pathways to Politics about the nature of political life, its opportunities and challenges. Having worked with several participants who were subsequently elected to the Victorian parliament, I can attest to the ground-breaking nature of the program and how it is helping to change the face of politics."

Helen Haines MP, Independent Member for Indi:
"It's critical that we have more women making decisions at all levels of government to take us to a stronger, more inclusive future. Pathways to Politics is a brilliant and clever program designed to equip women for election and build their networks so they can be the change makers we so urgently need."

Senator the Hon Jane Hume, Liberal Senator for Victoria:
"Through its thoughtfully structured program and speakers, Pathways to Politics gives participants the right combination: the unvarnished realities of political life, the expectations and commitment it requires, but also the extraordinary opportunities a political career presents, how fulfilling it can be, the value your pre-politics life can bring to the table and the unparalleled opportunity to make a contribution and make a difference."

Program, Participants & Presenters

The 2023 program was held in Darwin from Monday 11 September until Friday 15 September at Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University (Casuarina campus). 

2023 Program Topics

Our program brings together significant expertise and experience from across Australia’s political spectrum. Through an intensive series of workshops participants are provided with practical knowledge, skills and networking opportunities to become the political leaders of tomorrow. Program topics include:

  • Political values
  • Media training
  • Campaigning & Fundraising
  • Social media 
  • Policy making
  • Speech writing
2022 Participants

The 2022 cohort gained entry into the Program through a competitive application process, and the participants chosen each demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership potential in their respective fields. 12 participants were selected, a significant achievement given that it was the first year the program has run in the Northern Territory. The group is professionally diverse and includes participants from the government, corporate sector, and small businesses. 

The majority of the 2022 cohort were members of a political party ALP (5), the NT Greens Party (3), one cohort member was independent, and three were unaligned at the commencement of the Program. The cohort consisted of women from diverse cultures, languages and geographic backgrounds. Three cohort members identified as First Nations Australians. 

NT Cohort 2022 (alphabetical order): 

  • Georgie Corrie 
  • Ellie Cuthbert
  • Genevieve Dally
  • Rosanna De Santis
  • Aiya Goodrich Carttling
  • Sibella Hare Breidahl 
  • Peta Haughey
  • Asta Hill 
  • Anjana Pant Baral
  • Emily Raso 
  • Jade Ritchie
  • Rose-Anna Selhorst

2022 Program Participant Pack:

participant pack pdf file front cover
(PDF, 4.15 MB)



2022 Presenters
Ms Ruth McGowan OAM

Author of 'Get Elected'  

Former Mayor, Baw Baw Shire Council 

Ms Michelle Moffat

Managing Director, Moffat Corporate


Dr Katie Allen MP

Former Member for Higgins

(Pathways to Politics alumna)

Nyree SlaterSpeechwriter and content writer 
Ms Salli CohenDirector, The Policy Room 
Ms Donisha DuffStrategic Policy Adviser at Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (Pathways to Politics alumna)  
Andrea KerekesCo-founder and media trainer, Access PR  
Bethaney MaleyManaging Director and media trainer, Access PR 
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy  

Senator for the Northern Territory

Former Member for Arnhem

Dr Meredith MartinDirector of Pathways to Politics Program for Women  (Melbourne)  
Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price 

Senator for the Northern Territory

Former Deputy Mayor of Alice Springs

Ms Marion Scrymgour MP 

Member for Lingiari

Former Member of the NT Legislative Assembly

Dr Michaela Spencer  Research Fellow, Northern Institute 
Hon Lauren Moss MLA 

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Security;

Minister for Equality and Inclusion;

Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention;

Minister for Seniors;

Minister for Youth

Hon Sally Thomas AC 

Former Chief Magistrate and Justice of the Supreme Court of the NT

Former Administrator of the Northern Territory 

Katrina Fong Lim AM

General Manager at Variety NT 

Former Lord Mayor of Darwin 

Ms Kezia Purick MLA  

Independent Member for Goyder 

Former Speaker of the Northern Territory

Ms Maree Bredhauer


Former Mayor of Litchfield Municipality 

Dr Nicolas BullotLecturer in Philosophy, CDU 
Jonathan ParryGreens candidate NT 
Hon Natasha Fyles MLA

Chief Minister of NT

Minister for Alcohol Policy

Minister for Defence

Minister for Health

Minister for Major Projects

Ms Marie-Claire Boothby MLA  Member for Brennan  
2023 Participants

NT Cohort 2023 Cohort members gain entry into the Program through a competitive application process, and the participants selected for this year each demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership potential in their respective fields.

11 participants were selected in 2023, a significant achievement given that this is only the second year of the program in the Northern Territory. The group is professionally diverse, including participants from government, corporate sector, and the business sector.

6 cohort members are not affiliated with a political party, followed by NT Greens Party (2), ALP (1), CLP (1), and Independent (1). The cohort consists of women from diverse cultural, language and geographic backgrounds. Two cohort members identify as First Nations Australians.

NT Cohort 2023 (alphabetical order):

Anika Alam

Suki Dorras-Walker

Rana Everett

Lavinia Gaff

Sunny Liu

Tanya Moran

Deanne Rioli

Nicole Sabamba

Jacqueline Taylor

Laurie Zio

Advisory Committee

Our Patron

We are deeply appreciative The Honourable Vicki O'Halloran AO, former Administrator of the Northern Territory (2017-2023), is Patron of our Pathways to Politics Program for Women in the Northern Territory.  

The Program Advisory Committee provides strategic oversight and ensure the high quality of the Program. 

Honorable Vicki O’Halloran AO
Honorable Vicki O’Halloran AO

Patron – The Honorable Vicki O’Halloran AO

The Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO was sworn in as the 22nd Administrator of the Northern Territory on 31 October 2017 completing her service 31 January 2023.

Prior to her appointment as Administrator of the Northern Territory, Her Honour was Chief Executive Officer of Somerville Community Services. She has been a member of a range of boards and committees locally and nationally. Her Honour was Chair of National Disability Services Northern Territory, serving as National President of National Disability Services from 2012-2015, and Chair of the Northern Territory Government Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability Reform.

Honourable Sally Thomas AC
Honourable Sally Thomas AC

Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AC first came to the Northern Territory in 1978 to take up an appointment as Stipendiary Magistrate. Her Honour served as Magistrate and then Chief Magistrate of the Northern Territory from 1986 to 1992. Her Honour was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory from 1992 to 2009; the first female Judge in the Northern Territory. 

Her Honour has a strong interest in the tertiary education of Territorians and was a Deputy Chairman of the Northern Territory College of Queensland University and then a Member of the Northern Territory University Council from 1989 to 2003. In 2003, Her Honour was appointed to the Council of Charles Darwin University and elected Deputy Chancellor. Successively in 2010, Her Honour was appointed Chancellor of the University, a position she held until 2016.

In October 2011, Her Honour was sworn in as the 20th and first female Administrator of the Northern Territory. Her term concluded in October 2014.

In January 2014, Her honour was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the people of the Northern Territory, particularly to the judiciary and social justice, to the advancement of women in the legal profession, to youth, and to the promotion and development of tertiary education.

Honourable Lauren Jane Moss MLA 
Honourable Lauren Jane Moss MLA

The Honourable Lauren Moss is a Northern Territory politician. She has been the Labor member for Casuarina in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since 2014. She is the youngest ever member of the Northern Territory Parliament. Prior to entering politics she was a youth advocate.

Born in Crewe in the United Kingdom, Moss has lived in the Northern Territory since emigrating to Australia in 1999. She has a Bachelor of Business from Charles Darwin University and Monash University. Before entering politics, she ran a small business and worked in mental health services.

She won an Excellence in Youth Leadership award at the NT Young Achiever Awards and the NT Pride of Australia Young Leader Medal. She was also a finalist in the NT Young Australian of the Year, Darwin City Council Young Citizen of the Year and the Australian Woman's Weekly Women of the Future.

She is currently the NT Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Security; NT Minister for Equality and Inclusion; NT Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; NT Minister for Seniors; NT Minister for Youth. 

Katrina Fong Lim AM 
Katrina Fong Lim AM

Katrina Fong Lim is currently the General Manager of Variety – the Children’s Charity NT and the former Lord Mayor of the city of Darwin (2012-2017).

She is a born and bred 5th generation Territorian with a keen sense of public service and community. Her career has been a combination of her passion for serving her local community, together with her outstanding professional qualifications and experience, honed within the government, NFP, B2B and public service sectors over 30 years.

Katrina’s strong personal values and ethics, which stem from a close-knit family and the guidance of her late father, Alec Fong Lim who was himself Lord Mayor of Darwin in the 1980s, are reflected in her authentic and bipartisan approach to her public, professional and personal life. She is a passionate advocate for Darwin and the Northern Territory. Katrina has worked with relentless dedication to advance the interests of her region, both interstate and internationally.

Kezia Purick 
Kezia Purick

Kezia Purick is an independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, having held her seat of Goyder since the 2008 election.

Prior to entering Parliament, Purick was the CEO of the NT Minerals Council for 16 years. Originally elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party, she became an independent in 2015.

She served as Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since the CLP's victory in the 2012 Territory election, a post she retained after leaving the CLP.

Following Territory Labor's landslide victory at the 2016 Territory election, the new Labor government retained Purick as Speaker. She resigned as speaker on 23 June 2020.

Jo Hersey 
Jo Hersey

Jo Hersey is a member for the electoral division of Katherine in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly.

Hersey was born in Adelaide, but moved to the Northern Territory when she was young. The family returned to Adelaide after a few years, but Hersey returned to Katherine after she married. Before being elected, she was a hairdresser, continuing a family tradition that stretched back 3 generations.

In the 2020 Northern Territory general election Hersey won a close race in the seat of Katherine to be elected to Legislative Assembly for the Country Liberal Party.

Maree Bredhauer
Maree Bredhauer

Maree Bredhauer has over 40 years’ experience in school, corporate and community leadership - in primary school and early childhood settings across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in the Northern Territory. Maree’s experience includes 14 years as primary school principal, six years as executive manager of a large not-for-profit organisation and six years in an elected position in local government as Mayor of Litchfield Municipality.

Maree has a long-term commitment to promoting leadership development, community participation and engagement and advocacy to ensure quality, social justice and equity in early intervention, and disability access.

Sarah Buckley
Sarah Buckley

Sarah is a strategic leader with over seventeen years’ business leadership experience in social innovation, gender equity, ESG integration and responsible investing.

Sarah is currently Chief of Staff for Carol Schwartz AO and CEO of the Trawalla Foundation, and she co-leads Pathways to Politics Program for Women nationally. Sarah has been a sought after sustainability consultant to major Australian companies, led PwC's award winning Corporate Responsibility team, and held senior roles creating innovative new businesses including PwC’s Indigenous Consulting.

Professor Ruth Wallace
Professor Ruth Wallace

Professor Wallace is the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Arts and Society (CDU) and the former Director of Northern Institute.

Ruth’s research interests relate to the links between identity, marginalised learners and the development of effective learning and workforce development pathways. This work is situated in regional and remote areas of Northern Australia and Indonesia, with a specific focus in research approaches to improve service delivery and adaptation, undertaken with Aboriginal people in remote and regional areas.

Ruth’s research connects to digital systematic learning pedagogies, and approaches to workforce development through remote based enterprises.

Ruth is a leader in workforce development and focuses on collaborative approaches to engagement with community, governments and industry that are sustainable and scalable. Ruth has extensive experience in educational practice development and as a teacher at all educational level.

Professor Kim Humphery
Professor Kim Humphery Director Northern Institute CDU

Kim is Director of the Northern Institute, CDU and previous to that held various senior positions at RMIT University – as a Deputy and Associate Dean of Research and as Director of the Centre for Applied Social Research.

Kim is an interdisciplinary academic, originally trained in politics, social theory, HPS and history but predominantly working in the domain of sociology (and is incoming Vice-President of The Australian Sociological Association 2023-24).

Internationally, Kim is best known for her work on the socio-cultural and political dimensions of consumption and material life. She also has worked extensively on social and cultural aspects of Indigenous health (in the NT and Victoria) and on cross-cultural research ethics. Over the last two decades, Kim has published widely in these fields, has held a number of Australian Research Council grants, and has pursued collaborations through visiting research/professorial positions in sociology and media & creative industries at the University of Manchester, King’s College London, and the University of Sussex.

Dr Kate Macfarlane
Dr Kate Macfarlane

Dr Macfarlane is the Program Lead for Pathways to Politics for Women and a Senior Lecturer in South East Asian Studies, CDU College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts.

She is an International Relations/Political Science scholar, who focuses on children and armed conflict, peacebuilding, human security, gender and South Asia. 

Recently, Kate's research focused on the reintegration experiences of former child soldiers in Sri Lanka and Nepal. She completed six months of fieldwork in both countries. Kate is the 2018-2019 Fox Fellowship (Yale University) ANU representative. She received an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship, and an Australian Government Endeavour Fellowship (2018). 

Kate speaks Mandarin Chinese, and spent a number of years studying and working, primarily in the development sector. 


View recent media releases about the Pathways to Politics Program for Women NT. 

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