On the weekend of 26-28 February 2021, Cathy McGowan hosted, “Getting Elected”, the first national convention for community-minded independents. Attracting more than 300 attendees from 81 electorates, this virtual convention provided a unique opportunity to network, share campaigning skills and learn more about how community independents can change Australia for the better.
The convention provided a powerful and inspiring learning experience for attendees with:
- Keynote addresses, panel discussions, practical workshops and small group discussions
- Opportunities to network and connect with independent, community-minded people from across Australia
The keynote addresses and panel discussions were recorded and the speakers have generously made them publicly available.
Opening Address by Cathy McGowan
Speaker and Convention Host: Cathy McGowan, former Independent Member for Indi
Cathy McGowan was a federal member of parliament from 2013 to 2019. She contested the federal seat of Indi as an independent candidate in 2013, running a surprising and high-energy grassroots campaign that unseated Liberal Party incumbent Sophie Mirabella, who had held the seat for 12 years. While in parliament she developed policy around regional development, a national integrity commission, a code of conduct for politicians, and drought policy. Cathy decided not to stand for re-election in 2019, handing the independent political baton to Indi’s second female independent representative, Dr Helen Haines.
Day 2 Opening Address by Cathy McGowan
Being community independent-minded: the why, what, how, when and where
Speaker: Dr Helen Haines MP, Independent Federal Member for Indi
In May 2019, Helen made history by becoming the first independent federal parliamentarian to succeed another in the same electorate since Federation in 1901.With a doctoral degree in medical science and background in epidemiology and public health, Helen is a nurse, midwife, teacher, and academic. Helen is a community independent politician with a commitment to action on climate change, integrity, regional Australia and revitalisation of our democracy.
Seven months that changed Australia: The role of people, preferences, politics and power in Wentworth from October 2018 – May 2019
Speaker: Dr Keryn Phelps, Former independent Member for Wentworth and Councillor, City of Sydney
Dr Phelps’ arrival in Canberra as the member for Wentworth in 2018 was the culmination of 20 years of activism and advocacy. Kerryn is one of Australia’s best-known doctors and public health and human rights advocates. The Sydney-based GP and former President of the AMA is a Councillor for the City of Sydney.
Why Bother? Being an independent in the current Australian Political System
- Alana Johnson AM has a background in social science and psychotherapy, leadership and governance training. A social activist and change expert she is Chair of the Victorian Women’s Trust and co-founder and past President of Voices for Indi.
- Suzanna Sheed MP is the independent member for the Shepparton District in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. She has secured millions of dollars for her electorate including $356.5 million to upgrade the Shepparton train line, $170 million for Goulburn Valley Health, $10.2 million for a Shepparton Bypass route, $10 million for a new Shepparton Art Museum, plus $21.5 million for the Shepparton Education Plan.
- Rebekha Sharkie MP is the federal member for Mayo and a member of Centre Alliance. Sitting on the crossbench, Rebekha is a champion for all the issues impacting on regional and rural communities, as well as a strong voice on justice around social security, education, aged care, young people and refugees
- Zali Steggall OAM MP is the federal independent member for Warringah. She has made her mark in Parliament and the country and is currently challenging the Government on its lack of climate policy with the introduction of the people’s Climate Change Bill in March 2020.
Stories from the hustings. What does it take?
- Jacqui Hawkins stood as the independent candidate for the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Benambra. Jacqui has worked as an electoral officer for a number of independent members of Parliament and is an advisor in the office of Suzanna Sheed MP.
- Judy Ryan – As a country woman living in an inner-city, Judy used the electoral system to determine – and secure – community support for a medically supervised injecting room.
- Senator Jacqui Lambie is leader and founder of the Jacqui Lambie Network and a Tasmanian Senator. She believes it’s time to get things done, no excuses and no pussy-footing around.
- Tammy Atkins is a founding member of Voices For Indi and is a Managing Director of It’s On Purpose, where she works with communities to apply business and finance skills to solve social and community challenges. She has run as an independent candidate for the Victorian state seat of Murray Valley.
- Campaign resources – what do you need and how best to deploy? By Phil Haines
- Election booths and why they are important by Dr Rowan O’Hagan
- Judy Ryan’s story from the hustings… What does it take? by Judy Ryan
- Campaign 101: Preferences are everything by Tony Perrott
- Campaign messaging. By Dof Dickinson
- Voices for North Sydney by Andrea Wilson
- Campaigning - Grassroots
- Elections_Electorates (Australia - Victoria - Indi - 2019)
- Government - Members of Parliament MP
- Political participation