Succession planning for Indi
Posted December 06, 2018
Watch Cathy's speech about succession planning for Indi - keeping the seat orange and independent, and delivering for the electorate.
Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (11:24): Colleagues and people watching, I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and every good wish for 2019. My topic today is about the future of Indi. So many people are asking me, 'Hey, Cathy, what are your plans? What are you going to do?' So, today I'd like to address this topic. I'd like to say that I'm going to continue to be the best possible representative I can be for my electorate. I'm absolutely determined that my electorate stays independent and orange because I believe that's the best way to ensure that benefits are delivered for my community and that strong, prosperous communities, which are alive with opportunities for everybody, continue to be created and supported.
I'd like to share a short story about succession planning. My dad was a farmer. When he got to the age that he decided he couldn't actively farm anymore, he sent a letter to his children and said, 'Kids, come and talk to me. I'm ready to start the process.' Over the next period of time, the kids gathered in different ways, shapes and forms and had conversations with my father about the roles and responsibilities of taking over the farm, about his expectations, about the history of the farm and what he loved most about it, about the money needed, and about the time and the history. Eventually he made his decision about who he would leave our farm to. He wasn't in any hurry. He made sure that, when the handover happened, the majority of the community were happy with his decision. After he made that decision, dad stayed around as a mentor, as an adviser and as a font of wisdom. Eventually he died in the valley where he lived, surrounded by his children and grandchildren—exactly as he wanted it. I found such inspiration in that story. I have begun the process of succession planning. The commitment to my community is like my father's. I will do this well. I will take as long as it needs. I will bring to it all the skills and ability I have to make a successful transition so that my ambition for my electorate to have the best representation it can have and to remain orange and independent will continue.
But today I want to talk a little bit about my journey and where I started. I bring to the Chamber a wonderful document, Voice 4 Indi, a report of kitchen table conversations in 2013. I'm delighted that so many of the values that we talked about then are being implemented—the need for a diversity of voices and a strong voice at a national level; a commitment to encourage respectful debate and to undertake activities which build democracy; a commitment to be elegant in the way we work with our community and to be honest and respectful. It's such a lovely document. When I think about this year, I ask myself: how have I lived out the commitment I made to my electorate in 2013? I've got four documents I'd like to share with the Chamber. They're on my web page, and, for my community, they are available from my offices.
Let's talk about what we have done. We have worked really hard for a totally renewable Indi. The government has been so slow and so hard to work with on climate change, so we've taken it into our own hands. Right across my community now, terrific grassroots activism is taking place on climate change, and I'm so proud of that work. A second flyer I'll talk about is Connecting Community to Canberra—The Indi Way. This talks about how people who are interested in democracy can participate. I'm delighted that over 4,000 school students have come up here and been part of what we've been doing. Over 200-plus volunteers have come and worked in my office. Three of them are here today. So, to Chris, Charlie and Gary—Carole is not here at the moment—thank you for the work that you've done for me and, I know, for my community. So much work has been done. Then there is another lovely flyer about how my community has worked with me as a politician at the national level to actually get results in parliament. On the back of it is a really good way of how you can continue to work with my office to get things done. The final document is the Indi budget report—what people want from the government—which I use in my lobbying.
But, in bringing my comments to a close, I'd like to say that this is time for Christmas, for families to gather together, and my commitment is to be around as long as it takes to work with everyone in Indi. To this end, I'm planning a summer tour in January and an autumn tour when we have our break in March, when I'll be out in my community with my little caravan, having listening posts in every nook and cranny that I can find. Please come and say hello. I'm going to be here for the long term, whether I'm a member for parliament or, like my dad, sitting on the veranda. I'm not ever going to forget Indi.