Community backs independence
Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has thanked the 1490 donors whose contributions totalling almost $204,000 supported the grassroots campaign to “keep the seat orange” at the July 2016 federal election.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has released details of campaign expenditures by candidates who stood at this year’s election. The independent campaign for Indi was eligible for a payment of $81,000 by the AEC, based upon the number of formal first preference votes received at the election.
Donations to the 2016 “Cathy McGowan for Indi” campaign came from individuals and at 65 events held throughout the electorate, and in Sydney and Melbourne. On average, donors gave $137 each.
Donations rose by 67 per cent compared with the 2013 campaign. There were $137,000 in donations from 1120 donors in 2013, an average of $122 per donor.
Ms McGowan said the response was indicative of the support for representation within Indi that is local, effective and independent.
“It is endorsement of the engagement within Indi; evidence that the community wanted, and continues to support something different from traditional party politics,” she said.
“During the whole campaign there was amazing engagement within the Orange team. In 2016, the people of Indi had a clear choice and they chose independence, local and effective representation.”
Ms McGowan noted the wide-ranging support at events which included a trivia night at Beechworth and a garden party at Mansfield. There were an estimated 900 participants at 20 major fundraising events held throughout Indi.
“There was an involvement by a lot of people in the campaign. Most of them were local but there were people from all around Australia wanting to contribute to a campaign which has captured the national imagination for its innovation, creativity and the strength of its grass roots engagement,” Ms McGowan said.
“I am very grateful for the donations and very grateful for the AEC payment. I will pay tax on all income and after taking into account all expenditure there will be a small amount that can be tucked away for next time.
“There were no corporates, no unions and no large donors involved in my campaign. I note the lack of transparency from my opponents from the Liberal and National parties regarding how much they each spent in Indi.”
Ms McGowan said her 2016 campaign was also notable for the increased expenditure needed to support her re-election as the independent member.
“It was the first time we have spent money on opinion polling and research. There was additional expenditure on newspaper advertising, corflutes, bumper stickers and costs associated with volunteers, including insurance and venue hire,” she said.
Ms McGowan offered her congratulations to all the candidates who offered themselves for election in Indi in 2016.
“It’s a compliment to the electorate that so many people are willing to serve,” she said.
“Winning the seat was the result of plenty of hard work and dedication from a team keen to continue a new way of ‘doing politics’.
“Our campaign has continued to resonate with people who want change and believe there is a better way of moving Indi forward.”