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Cathy Goes to Canberra
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Getting Elected: The first national convention for community-minded independents

For candidates planning to run as independents, community members keen to support a community leader to run, and others with a commitment to help Australian politics reach its potential.

An Australian first, this online convention will be a unique opportunity to network, share skills, knowledge and experience and learn more about how community independents can change Australia for the better.

Join us online from Friday evening to Sunday lunch on the last weekend of February 2021. Be inspired by those who’ve run campaigns including independent candidates, campaigners and community voices groups.

Sign up on the Getting Elected website and we’ll email you when registrations open, along with ticket costs and our program details including workshops, speakers, and panelists.

 

 

 

Cathy Goes to Canberra: Doing Politics Differently
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Cathy McGowan – Cathy Goes to Canberra

A conversation with Kerryn Phelps and Van Badham about independent, community-driven politics.

In 2013 Cathy McGowan became the first female independent to sit on the crossbench, where she would represent the Victorian rural electorate of Indi for six years. Winning the seat of Indi, after the Coalition had held the seat for 82 years, was a watershed moment. Indi became ‘Exhibit A’ for future political campaigns – from Kerryn Phelps as the Member for Wentworth to Zali Steggall in Warringah.

Cathy Goes to Canberra tells both the story of the campaign to win Indi around the community’s kitchen tables and the subsequent realities of negotiating good policy with the major political parties.

The book is a handbook – a ‘how-to-be-elected’ and a ‘how-to-survive’ Canberra. It is a manifesto for an alternative community-based politics told through the prism of the story we know as ‘Cathy McGowan Goes to Canberra’.

In 2004 McGowan was made an Officer of the Order of Australia ‘for service to the community through raising awareness of and stimulating debate about issues affecting women in regional, rural and remote areas.’ McGowan was also a recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2001.

 

 

The World Turned Upside Down event
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The World Turned Upside Down

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?

Live in-person event | Also available on Stream

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.

Cathy Goes to Canberra
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Women doing politics differently

In partnership with La Trobe University, WAM presents Jennifer Jones in conversation with Judith Brett, Cathy McGowan and Kat Bennett.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, La Trobe University and Write Around the Murray present a panel discussion on the historical and contemporary experience of women in politics. Featuring Judith Brett, Emeritus Professor of Politics at La Trobe; Cathy McGowan AO, who recently chronicled her experiences in Cathy Goes to Canberra: Doing Politics Differently; and Cr Kat Bennett, City of Wodonga. Moderated by Dr Jennifer Jones of La Trobe University.

Numbers for this event are limited to 50 people to comply with social distancing restrictions. Bookings are essential. Ticket price includes a complimentary drink.

Note: This event will also be live-streamed free of charge. Links will be published on this page prior to the event.

 

 

 

Cathy Goes to Canberra: Doing Politics Differently
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Cathy Goes to Canberra: audiobook now available

Monash University Publishing is pleased to announce that following successful print and ebook editions, Cathy Goes to Canberra: Doing Politics Differently by Cathy McGowan is now available as an audiobook. Narrated by Cathy herself, the audiobook is available from all quality retailers, including Audibleaudiobooks.com and Kobo.

The paperback edition is available from our online store.