Indi - People not Parties.
In the safe Liberal seat of Indi, people felt ignored. There had been a growing disenchantment with two party politics and its failures for our rural electorate.
All across Indi there was a feeling that the interests of political parties were being placed above the needs of the electorate.
People felt as though they had been shut out from political conversations and there wasn’t true representation of local communities. It was out of this that Voice for Indi (V4i) was formed.
It began when 12 local residents believed that a politically engaged community could create change.
In August 2012 they began to meet regularly with the goal of creating a well informed and politically engaged Indi.
As a group they recognised the power of the community in rural politics. Voice for Indi wanted to harness this and create a political conversation that involved people who were otherwise ignored.
They adopted the Victorian Women’s Trust ‘kitchen table conversations’ model and during April and May this year a total of 55 conversations involving 425 people met all across the vast electorate.
The opportunity to discuss politics in a non toxic or adversarial environment was enthusiastically received.
The ‘kitchen table conversations’ took many forms as some met after yoga, at the dinner table, for scones and afternoon tea, at a health centre, at cafes, in staff rooms, in the pub, in farmhouse kitchens, camping in the Stanley forest, and as student leaders.
The information from these groups was collated by the V4i committee and revealed how much the residents of the electorate share in common. The values were shared across political, geographical and professional divides.
In May this year 300 people packed the Wangaratta auditorium for the launch of the Voice for Indi report and the announcement of Cathy McGowan as the V4i endorsed candidate.
Regardless of the outcome, Voice for Indi will continue to build a strong political voice for the electorate.
In 2014 Voice for Indi plans to organise the inaugural Indi Summit. People of all political persuasions will be invited to be heard and to listen, and to contribute to a plan for the future of Indi.
Written by Alana Johnson, V4i Committee Mob: 0427 624 214
Authorized by Tony Lane, V4i Convenor Mob: 0410 207 172