Community Independents Project

Cathy is a director of The Community Independents Project. The project’s three conventions are a treasure trove of “how to” questions answered, topics discussed, challenges addressed and inspiration and motivation for how to become involved, run a community campaign, be a candidate, get elected, represent, put the community at the centre, be an MP.

These conventions are essential viewing for all those interested in improving democracy by engaging their community.

Convention 2022
Convention 2023
CIP event recordings

Video coming soon…

Getting Elected: Welcome address by Cathy McGowan

Cathy McGowan presented the opening address to Getting Elected: the first national convention for community-minded independents.

Video coming soon…

Being community independent-minded: the why, what, how, when and where -
Dr Helen Haines

Dr Helen Haines reflects on what being a community-minded, independent political representative entails, as part of Getting Elected: the first national convention for community-minded independents.

Local democracy building


Voices for Indi: Next steps

Voices for Indi: Next steps was prepared in the aftermath of Voices for Indi’s November 2013 forum, which sought to review the organisation’s progress, and begin to chart its future direction and actions.

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Voice 4 Indi: Reflection

Voice 4 Indi: Reflection outlines the feedback from a Voice for Indi public meeting in November 2013, during which participants were invited to comment on what they valued about Voice 4 Indi and how these values might direct future activities.

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Voice 4 Indi report

Voice 4 Indi report explores the outcomes of the Indi Kitchen Table Conversations, a series of discussions among 440 people across the electorate of Indi in 2013, focused on highlighting the issues that mattered to local people in the electoral process and the 2013 federal election.

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Candidates handbook – AEC

The Australian Electoral Commission has created a Candidate’s Handbook with all the details on the legislative requirements for running as a candidate, and the role and responsibilities of an elected member under the law.

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Being independent in parliament


Indi Community Summit Report:
Delivering our Vision

Indi Community Summit Report: Delivering our Vision summarises the outcomes of the inaugural Indi Community Summit, 2015. The summit brought together diverse segments of the Indi community to pool their wisdom, experience and ideas and formulate a community perspective of action needed to make the Indi electorate a prosperous, caring community alive with opportunities for all.

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Getting things done:
the Indi Way

Getting things done: the Indi Way is a case study, prepared by Cathy McGowan’s office, showcasing practical examples of Indi communities and their elected federal representative working together to resolve issues, and turn their collective vision into reality.

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Australian Story: An Independent Woman – Cathy McGowan

In 2022, Australian Story records the story of Cathy as she travelled the country supporting community independents in their campaigns to put community at the centre of politics.

As Barrie Cassidy says in his introduction, “When Cathy McGowan won the seat of Indi in 2013, she had no idea that she would become a lightning rod for an independent movement that is now dominating Australian Politics. More than 23 so-called teal or community independent candidates are standing in this election and Ms McGowan has been their ‘secret weapon.’

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ABC RN Big Ideas: Cathy’s lessons for lasting change.

For Cathy McGowan, change doesn’t come about by waiting for government. Nor for that matter, perfecting theories… it’s simply doing. And sticking it out when the work isn’t sexy, incremental, and the outcome seems unlikely.
It’s something she learnt around this time a decade ago when she toppled a long-standing incumbent in the Victorian seat of Indi — and became Australia’s first-elected female independent.

In this National Museum of Australia address, McGowan explains her success wasn’t about her. Instead, why it was her community that was central to her campaign, and subsequent parliamentary terms.

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