A young mother who lost her leg after being hit by a car will be Labor’s candidate to take on Peter Dutton in his Brisbane seat at the next federal election.
While Mr Dutton had been away in Canberra making an ill-fated run at the Liberal Party leadership, Ali France has been busy door-knocking the Brisbane electorate.
The self-described disability advocate is making a run at Mr Dutton’s narrowly-held Dickson seat – inspired by her horror accident in a Brisbane undercover car park in 2011.
Mr Dutton, a former police officer, holds the Dickson division in Brisbane’s outer north-west by the barest of margins – just 1.6 per cent.
Ali France (pictured centre) is the Labour candidate trying to oust former-home affairs minister Peter Dutton from his Brisbane seat at the next federal election
Labor’s candidate for the federal seat of Dickson, Ali France, is seen posing for a photo at Bald Hills, north of Brisbane
Labor is well placed to win back the seat for the first time in 17 years with the help of the Greens – who have enlisted human rights lawyer Benedict Coyne to run against him.
‘It will only take a few thousand votes to ditch Dutton from Dickson,’ Mr Coyne said.
Mr Dutton’s popularity in Dickson has taken a hit this week following Labor’s questioning of his constitutional eligibility.
The former Home Affairs Minister’s popularity with Malcolm Turnbull as leader slightly edged Labor at 51 per cent in a Newspoll on August 22.
Ms France said when people ask whether she is up to the challenge of politics she replies ‘I’ve gone through greater challenges than this’
Ms France (pictured with former Prime Minister Julie Gillard) has been busy door-knocking the Brisbane electorate
His share fell to 52-48 behind in Dickson, though, following accusations he was ineligible for Parliament due to his interests in the childcare sector.
Ms France, 44, credited her 2011 accident with driving her towards a career in politics.
She told ABC Brisbane earlier this year: ‘I’m really motivated in terms of wanting to make a difference.
‘I’m more confident than I ever have been. People ask, are you up for this challenge? And well actually, I’ve gone through greater challenges than this.’
Ms France (right with Bill Shorten) wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull protesting plans to ban asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat
Ms France, meanwhile, has been busy back in Dutton’s Dickson seat knocking doors and working to sway the hearts and minds of the local electorate
In the interview, she accused Mr Dutton of spending a lot of time ‘creating headlines and little on the issues that actually matter on the ground’.
In October 2016, France wrote an open letter to then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull protesting plans to ban asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat.
Ms France was inspired to write the letter by a refugee surgeon who operated on her leg following her accident.
Speaking to the Courier-Mail’s QWeekend Magazine in 2017, France revealed the raw details of her accident when a revving car pinned her against an empty vehicle.
She pushed her seven-month-old son Zac out of the way moments before she was hit – who suffered a deep burn to his leg from the car’s tyres but was otherwise unharmed in the 2011 incident.
Ms France (pictured with her children Zac, 10, and Henry, 12) lost her leg in a horrific car accident in a Brisbane shopping centre in 2011 – an experience which she credits with driving her towards a career in politics
Ms France (right, pictured with Labour leader Bill Shorten) accused Peter Dutton in a recent interview of spending a lot of time ‘creating headlines and little on the issues that actually matter on the ground’
She said: ‘My leg didn’t even really feature in those moments, and even when I was in hospital.
‘I suffered really terrible post-traumatic stress disorder … but it wasn’t to do with me losing my leg, it was to do with nearly losing my child.’
France is a former journalist in Brisbane and Hong Kong, as well as a senior press officer for the UK’s formerly-known Healthcare Commission.
In 2016, France was asked to join the No Limits Australian outrigging canoe team to compete at the International Va’a Federation (IVF) World Sprint Championships.
Ms France (pictured left with Labour minister for innovation Kate Jones) is a former journalist and press officer, and competed at the International Va’a Federation (IVF) World Sprint Championships in 2016