Candidate Selection

Appointment Of Voice 4 Indi Independent Candidate 

On 19 May the Voice for Indi report was released following the 55 Kitchen table conversations of recent weeks involving 440 people.  Also the announcement was made of Cathy McGowan as the independent candidate to be supported by the Voice for Indi.


The announcement of Cathy McGowan was greeted with great applause by around 200 people at the Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre.  To many it was an obvious choice as Cathy’s qualities skills and reputation were well known.    However it is also important that people do not lose sight of what was a thorough selection process  that  actively sought the best possible  candidate  for Voice For Indi  


In its early days  of being formed  in  Sept 2012 ,  the   V4i  committee  gave serious thought to having an independent candidate to carry forward  the completed   community conversations  that were on the drawing board .   Following some brainstorming sessions,  a number of names were suggested as possible independent candidates.  V4i   approached a few of these notable people to outline our ideas and invite them to consider being an independent candidate.  Although receiving a good hearing,  it became apparent that the notion of a V4i candidate was premature at this time and  actively seeking a  candidate  was “parked “ .  This then allowed V4i  to fully focus on  implementing  a consultation process across the communities of Indi.


Perhaps owing to the name, “Voice For Indi”, the concept of an independent candidate kept attracting attention.  However the real intention behind choosing this name was for the whole electorate to be encouraged to use their own “Voice for Indi”.   The media regularly questioned whether a candidate would be running and the wider community were also showing increasing interest in having a V4i independent candidate. However V4i was maintaining it’s focus on community consultation  and the Kitchen Table Conversations that were now taking  shape.  In responding to the media, V4i consistently stated that the focus was on kitchen Table conversations and that ;  “if   suitable candidates were as to emerge, there would be a transparent process for the selection of any candidate”.  This is also stated on the website in the Q & A area.


By mid April  there were 4 people who had indicated  some  interest in being the  independent candidate.   On 2nd May a media release included some of the feedback from the Kitchen Table Conversations, and also formally called for nominations for the V4i  candidate by 13 May.  There was as least one further response to this media report.   Not all who showed some interest, followed through with formal applications, however interviews were required and the selection process was guided by clear criteria and a probity document that aligned to the values of V4i.  All applicants were provided with the draft V4i report  prior to interview.


When in early April Cathy confirmed her interest in standing, she stood down as convener of V4i, and was subsequently was required to be absent from any V4i meeting where selection processes were discussed, and thus from then was treated equally as other applicants through the selection process.


The selection of  such an obvious choice as Cathy McGowan as v4i candidate was greeted with acclaim  but also had the potential to raise a few eyebrows.  The above information has been provided to  clarify the circumstance of the V4i  journey  to finding an independent candidate while ensuring equitable processes were in place.  It has been a rigorous process that resulted in a good outcome for V4i and  the quality of future debate in the Indi Electorate.   The fact that outcome was no surprise to some people is a testament  what people already knew of Cathy McGowan including her integrity , skills, experience and her  great capacity to engage with people.


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