VOICE TO VOICELESS: Paola Cabezas ran for council on a platform championing building bridges and uniting as a community.
VOICE TO VOICELESS: Paola Cabezas ran for council on a platform championing building bridges and uniting as a community.

Council candidate forced to call police over racist attacks

A COUNCIL candidate has revealed the appalling acts of racism she was subject to during her election campaign as she continues her fight for diversity of ideas.

Paola Cabezas said she was woken up by racist rants and copped many bigoted Facebook posts during her 2020 run, the attacks eventually forcing her to report to police.

When police said she should remove her number from public access, Ms Cabezas refused.

Ms Cabezas, who heralds from Argentina, came to the Southern Downs region 19 years ago and said her background had taught her the importance of Australia’s democratic freedom.

“When I was a kid in Argentina, if you had different political views, potentially you would be killed so when people said I had courage to do this, it wasn’t that because I feel protected and safe in a country where we can speak our minds,’ she said.

“So many people supported me so I never going to focus on discrimination.

“It will always be there for some reason of another, because you’re a woman or because of your hair colour.”

Over the years, Ms Cabezas had also experienced racist run-ins during her work as a winemaker, leading her to“expect” some backlash during the campaign.

“I’ve had people and customers sometimes think I’m dyslexic,” she said.

“To me, it is part of the game — I cannot change who I am.”

While Ms Cabezas had stood her ground against hiding contact information, she did advocate for the privacy protocols of the Australian Electoral Commission to be investigated.

“All over the world, women are targeted more than men, and to have to put out your address was probably the thing I liked less,” she said.

“I haven’t had any angry ex-partners but imagine if someone running for council had. What a loss for the community that would be if they couldn’t put themselves out there for fear of being targeted?”

While Ms Cabezas missed out of a seat in the newly-elected council, she congratulated those who did and said her work wasn’t done just yet.

“I have faith in them. I think it’s a different bunch of people and they have the different ideas to make a positive change,” she said.

“As for me, I plan to still be a voice for those who don’t have a voice, that they can come to me and their issues will not to forgotten.”