Cathy McGowan AO

Chairperson, AgriFutures Australia

In 2013, Cathy McGowan broke the Liberal/National Coalition’s hold on the seat of Indi, becoming the first independent member for the north-east Victorian electorate and the first female independent to sit on the parliamentary crossbench.

Her successful grassroots campaigns sparked nationwide interest in the potential of community-based, independent politicians to chart a new course for Australian democracy, demonstrating that when politics relates to a community, the power of a community is unleashed.

During her two terms as a politician, from 2013-2019, Cathy worked in Federal Parliament to develop policy around regional development, a national integrity commission, a code of conduct for politicians, and drought policy.

In 2019, Cathy was again part of Australian political history, supporting the winning campaign of – and handing the political baton on to – Indi’s second female independent member, Dr Helen Haines.

Cathy was awarded The Accountability Round Table award for political integrity in 2019, and is also an Officer of the Order of Australia and a Churchill fellow.

She lives very contentedly on her hilltop farm in the Indigo Valley in north-eastern Victoria and is now on a different campaign trail, encouraging others to turn up, speak up and step up to leadership.

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