By Wayne Jansson,
16 August, 2013
The Voice4Indi candidate Cathy McGowan has hit back at claims by unnamed Liberal sources that she is a front for the National Party in Indi, saying she has support across the political spectrum.
Ms McGowan acknowledged she was a close friend of Mr Tim Fischer, a former National Party leader and deputy Prime Minister.
“That’s true, and I’ve got lots of close friends right across the political spectrum in Indi. Tim Fischer is a constituent, and he’s an active member of the communities I’m part of. It would be the most natural thing in the world to have relationships with him, and many Greens and Labor Party people as well.”
Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported yesterday that ‘a prominent Liberal’ in Indi claimed that local Nationals “were up to their eyeballs” backing Ms McGowan. Under an agreement between the Coalition partners, each agrees not to stand a candidate against a seating member of either Party.
The Australian claimed today that Labor had decided to preference Ms McGowan, but the campaign manager for Labor candidate Ms Robyn Walsh, Ms Zuvele Leschen (@ZuveleLeschen) tweeted that “Most likely source for ‘The Australian’ story Mirabella’s enthusiastic staffer. Not from Labor. No official decision made.”
Mr Gowan told No Fibs that any support from local Nationals “has got nothing to do with me”.
Asked why Liberals were accusing her of being a National Party stooge, she said, “I wouldn’t think that would be an accusation.”
“I’ve been branded as a National Party stooge. I’ve been branded as a Labor Party stooge. I’ve been branded as a greenie. All sorts of people are saying all sorts of things about me. So what I’m saying back is that it probably means I’m positioning myself exactly where I am, which is an Independent with no political allegiance at all.”
In response to suggestions that the National Party had informally advised local members it was OK to support her, she said:
“I’m getting support right across the political spectrum in Indi. People are really responding well to this grass root campaign. They’re responding to the vision I’m offering, They’re responding to the opportunity to be engaged in political discussion. I’m getting support from all sections of the community. I’m not asking them how they voted in previous times, I’m saying, Fantastic, come onboard and be involved in what we’re doing’.” Ms McGowan acknowledged she had heard from Tony Windsor, who has offered to campaign for her. “I’ve been hearing from lots of people in lots of different ways. Trying to pin meaning on it would be really difficult.” Ms McGowan also addressed rumours that National Party members were on her campaign committee.
“On my committee we don’t and haven’t discussed political political affiliation. When I look around I suspect there would be a full range of political opinions on that committee – as there are in the seat of Indi. Right across the board I’m getting support. All sectors of the community are coming onboard because they like the way we’re working, they respect the vision that we’re putting forward. For other people to try and put it down to some other agenda would be a real mistake.”