Cynthia Lui tipped to make history as first ever Torres Strait Islander elected to public office

Labor candidate Cynthia Lui looks likely to become the first Torres Strait Islander elected to office in Australia as she maintains her lead in the far north Queensland seat of Cook.

In a post on her official campaign Facebook page, Ms Lui thanked her supporters and said she was confident of a win.

“We are still anticipating a positive outcome however it is very close,” she wrote.

“Thank you to everyone who worked on and supported our campaign. I am eternally grateful!”

Ms Lui, a single mother-of-three, was on Sunday afternoon sitting on almost 9000 votes, more than 4000 ahead of her state election opponents with more than 72 per cent of the count complete.

“For an Indigenous person, a woman coming from a remote Indigenous community, it’s a big achievement to get to this point”, she said in an interview with local paper The Cairns Post.

Born and raised on Yam Island, the 40-year-old said she would use her experience of the challenges faced by remote Indigenous communities to her advantage to deliver better health, education and employment outcomes.

“I spent a lot of time addressing issues with health, but then there are all of the other challenges with [the] high cost of living and the unemployment rate,” she told AAP.

“That was one part of my life.

“My experiences growing up as well as my experiences working with vulnerable families to address issues around health, child protection, homelessness, it gives you that bigger appreciation for the types of issues and their complexity.”

The seat of Cook was vacated by Billy Gordon, who won the seat for Labor in 2015 only to be dumped by the party after revelations of domestic violence and unpaid child support payments.

Ms Lui ran for preselection with the determination to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, on the back of her extensive experience in the health, domestic violence and child protection sectors.

Should she claim the seat, Ms Lui, daughter of Torres Strait Island councillor Getano Lui Junior, said she would take a broader approach to boosting outcomes for communities while meeting their distinct needs.

“The issues are not all the same,” she said.

“It is community by community and when you get on the Torres Strait it is community by community surrounded by water.”

Ms Lui said her potential history-making position was bittersweet.

“The fact that we’re in 2017 and you know, me coming into this as being the first Torres Strait Islander, it’s amazing that it’s taken this long but it’s also amazing that I get to experience this, I get to live it.”

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