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McGowan Shares Knowledge

McGowan Shares Knowledge

A special convention for community minded independents

Former Member for Indi Cathy McGowan is holding a convention to share the learnings from her landmark community election campaign.

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McGowan was elected to the formerly safely-held Liberal seat in 2013 as an independent, following a groundswell of community support.

The former MP says after the release of her memoir, 'Cathy Goes to Canberra', people around Australia got in touch, asking how they could do the same in their area.

So she decided to host an online convention: "Getting Elected: The first national convention for community-minded independents".

"Communities look around, and particularly if they're in a safe seat, they do get taken for granted," she says.

"And I think people see they've got a choice here, and there is a better alternative. Actually having a community minded independent representing you in parliament, and if you can engage the community and have a strong sense of participatory democracy, then it all works much much better."

More than 180 people have signed up for the convention, which runs from Friday evening through to Sunday.

There will be three major parts: practical campaigning skills; setting up a candidate; and building the community movement.

"A candidate by themselves can't get elected, the community has got to move together and do work, and actually get a very effective campaign happening," says McGowan.

She says the practical skills are the easy part.

"What they really need is confidence and courage," she says.

"The skills are important, but it does take confidence and it does take courage to say, 'We've always been a safe seat. but that's not good enough, and we as a community group are actually going to get out there and talk about this.'"

This is the first convention of its kind, but McGowan hopes it will become a regular event.

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