People Power

20 / 09 / 2013

In this edition of First Person, keeping with our theme of ‘painting the Sheilas edition orange’, we reproduce Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan’s speech to supporters on election night, 7 September, 2013, and provide some other links to her campaign story – see below.

The speech was given to hundreds of supporters packed into the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre, when the vote was too close to call (it would take another 11 days or so before the result became clear enough for Sophie Mirabella to concede defeat).


CATHY McGowan – Election Night Speech:

From little things big things grow…

Never underestimate the power of a small group of people.

So many people have done so much. So many people have given so much. So many people have made this happen. We have bloomed where we were planted.

And we have planted an orange garden across Indi.

We had over 600 volunteers staffing the polling booths today.

There were the joy and love teams, the scheduling teams, the back up office teams, the badge making teams, the media team, the tweeting- facebooking mob, the cooks, the sewers, the banner makers, drivers, lawyers and all our families and friends who have put up with us for the past 3 months.

You know who you are:  Thank You, every single one of you for making today possible.

Quote from toilet at Mittagundi:

“The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating, the paths to it are made, not found, and the activity of making them changes both the destination and the maker”

After this election, Indi will never be the same again.  We are changed.

We as a community have been changed by this journey.We have taken hold of the paths to our future.

We, the people of Indi are claiming the power to be the architects and authors of our future of our community’s future.

We are no longer a ‘safe seat’, we have changed! We have swung.

We have had more attention paid to this seat in the last five weeks than ever before and this shows the value of a close competition.

Our campaign gained momentum quickly – right across the electorate – as people realised this was an opportunity to get involved and be part of something unique.

I am very proud to have been the leader of this campaign and the catalyst for so many people to re-engage with politics.

I am particularly proud of the fact that so many young people have been involved.

I want to acknowledge the current member for Indi. She has been a hardworking and passionate member of Parliament for 12 years. 

The energy and drive she has brought to her role is obvious as is her commitment to her beliefs.

Whether I win or Sophie does, this campaign has been shaped and driven by a genuine grass roots community effort and the electorate of Indi will never be the same again.

After a long week and a half of counting votes, McGowan was declared the Independent Member for Indi. On Wednesday she gave a press conference during which she outlined how she thought she would be able to contructively work with government departments and other federal members across the political spectrum, and some of her key policy priorities (including providing an apology to the Stolen Generation on behalf of Indi – the former member Sophie Mirabella had previously questioned the existence of the Stolen Generation, and did not attend Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s formal apology in parliament). 

Click here for a transcript of the questions and answers McGowan gave to the media on Wednesday, published on ‘No Fibs‘.

Click here for Wayne Jansson’s photo gallery of the Indi campaign – including the election night event – also published on Margo Kingston’s No Fibs website, which has an impressive archive of materials covering the campaign.

To read more about the formation of Voice 4 Indi and how they engaged with the local community in a grassroots campaign, check out this month’s ‘Polly Ticks’ column, in which Sarah Capper speaks with Voice 4 Indi’s Alana Johnson and the Victorian Women’s Trust Executive Director Mary Crooks.

And check out this month’s Bonza Sheila in which we speak with musician Sal Kimber about her involvement in the campaign, including how she rewrote the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody classic ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ for Cathy’s campaign launch. Click here to watch Sal sing the song at that launch.