Cathy McGowan, Adam Bandt, Allegra Spender and others
The cross benches in our federal parliament got quite a bit more crowded at this year’s election. Will this Independents movement continue to grow? And how will they enact their agenda with the new government?
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How will the new politics change Canberra?
Voters in this year’s federal election made a historic move away from the two-party system, and a record number of Independents and Greens candidates have been elected. Labor was able to form government in its own right, but many suggest this might well be the last time a major political party does. Stitching together coalitions after an election in order to form a government is the norm in some countries – could this become the norm here?
Join these cross-bench trendsetters as they put our new state of affairs under the microscope. How will these new voices in power hold the government to account? What role will the Senate play, where the balance of power is in play?” to “What role will the Senate play, where the crossbench holds the balance of power is?
Presented by Sydney Opera House
Cathy McGowan came to national attention when she won the seat of Indi as an Independent in 2013. The community backed her again in 2016. In 2019 Indi made Australian political history when Dr Helen Haines was elected as Indi’s second, independent woman. During her time as a politician Cathy actively worked in Parliament to develop policy around regional development, constitutional change for first nations people and a solution to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers. In 2019 she was awarded The Accountability Round Table award for political integrity. She is an Officer in the Order of Australia, a Churchill fellow and lives very happily on her farm in the Indigo Valley in NE Victoria.
Adam Bandt is the Federal Member for Melbourne and Leader of the Australian Greens. Adam is the Greens spokesperson for the Climate, Energy and Employment & Workplace Relations. Adam was elected to the Federal Parliament in 2010, making history as the first Green elected to the House of Representatives at a general election.
The Australian Greens are now the third biggest party in Australia’s history after gaining an extra three seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 2022 Federal Election.
Allegra Spender is the independent member for the federal seat of Wentworth. She is a mum, business leader, and renewable energy advocate, and was elected in 2022 on a platform of climate action, integrity, inclusivity, and a future-focused economy. Allegra has diverse leadership experience in the corporate, non-profit, private, and public sectors. She started her career at McKinsey & Company, before working at the U.K. Treasury and in a leading U.K. public teaching hospital. From 2008 to 2016, Allegra was the Managing Director of Carla Zampatti, a leading Australian designer fashion business. She was also Chair of Sydney Renewable Power Company, a renewable impact investment company that financed over 500kw of solar on the International Convention Centre. Prior to standing for Wentworth, Allegra was the CEO of Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) a social mobility not-for-profit. The network is made up of a group of forty leading corporations, including Macquarie, Microsoft, Lendlease, Optus and Bain, whose team members mentor over 5,000 students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Allegra has a degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and has completed courses from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the University of London’s Birkbeck, and Harvard Business School. Allegra is married with three young children and in her spare time is a keen runner.