Cathy goes to Canberra

Doing politics differently

When politics relates to the local community, the community responds and the power of that community is unleashed. Thats what this book, this story, is about: what a politically active community can do. In northeast Victoria we call it the Indi way. 

A self-declared political novice, Cathy McGowan first came to national attention with her surprise win as an independent in the north-east Victorian seat of Indi in 2013.  

Backed by a well-organised, if somewhat unconventional, grassroots campaign, her win of a seat held by the Coalition for 74 years inspired future political campaigns, from Kerryn Phelps in the seat of Wentworth, to Zali Steggalls Warringah upset. 

For the first time since retiring from Federal Parliament, McGowan shares the story of her remarkable ride to the nations capital.

From her childhood on a rural Victorian farm in a large family of 13 children, to her dedication to the land, farming life and education, McGowan paints a picture of a life committed to her community and to genuine change. 

Part memoir, part community organising guide, Cathy Goes to Canberra offers a glimpse inside McGowans grassroots campaign, sharing in detail how thousands of ordinary people got together, organised themselves and amplified their voices. She explains how the campaign, which started around peoples kitchen tables, worked to harness peoples best selves, radically altering the political terrain and forging a path for others. 

Cathy Goes to Canberra is an inspiring tale and a primer for other communities and individuals looking to create meaningful change. 

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