Cathy McGowan in conversation with Kerryn Phelps and Van Badham

Glee Books Author talks:

Cathy chats about her book - Cathy goes to Canberra

Cathy McGowan discusses her political career and the benefits of 'doing politics differently' with Van Badham and Kerryn Phelps.

Length: 55 mins

Listen to the conversation here

Our democracy is decaying from within

Pearls and Irritations - Sep 16, 2021

By John Menadue - Estimated reading time 9 mins.

We need a summit of community leaders to help chart democratic renewal.

Bob Hawke’s economic summit following the 1983 election promoted cooperation and consensus which led to remarkable economic and social reform. It could be a useful model to promote democratic renewal.

With the loss of trust in our political institutions and politicians today, we need a political summit to build consensus on democratic reform and the restoration of trust. Such a proposal, if carefully explained and implemented, could produce real political and policy dividends for its advocates and more importantly, for Australia.

parliament house canberra politics night


Read full article here

The man who walked into Parliament with a lump of coal

Another podcast in the continuing #transitzone side-bar series on grassroots democracy in Australia and the emerging and evolving "Voices for" independents movements gearing up for the looming federal election.

Margo Kingston and Peter Clarke in conversation with Zali Steggall, the federal independent member for Warringah in Sydney, a "safe" Liberal seat until Steggall ousted the incumbent and former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, at the 2019 federal election via a vigorous community-based campaign focussed primarily on climate change.

In Parliament, Steggall (described by some as a fiscal conservative and social progressive) has pursued climate change and truth in political advertising by drafting and presenting her own private member's bills, the same way Steggall's fellow cross-bencher, the independent member for Indi In Victoria, Helen Haines (an earlier #transitzone guest), has done around her proposed Australian Federal Integrity Commission. 

Listen here

Zali Steggall's personal website:

The impact of independents on Australian democracy

ABC Radio National

By Geraldine Doogue on Saturday extra

Once pioneering suffragettes like Vida Goldstein, independents have a long history of challenging the political status quo in Australia. As trust in government wanes and the major parties remain stagnant on issues at the forefront of the national psyche, will there be a bigger push towards politicians promising voters something different, and can independents actually deliver on these promises?


Carolyn Hendriks, Professor of Public Policy and Governance at Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

Jennifer Curtin, Professor of Politics and Director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Auckland whose research focuses on Australian and New Zealand electoral politics, trans-Tasman policy innovations, sport, and gender, policy and political leadership.

Duration: 12min 40sec

Listen here

Strong Female Lead

VMP highly recommends watching Strong Female Lead.

“A new generation is interrogating how we have traditionally done politics and leadership in our nation; and they are demanding profound change and a future of gender equality.” ~ Julia Gillard in response to the SBS documentary Strong Female Lead.

The documentary is an exploration of the gender politics during Julia Gillard's term as Australia's first female prime minister, including the response and tone from media commentators, the Australian public, and within parliament itself.


You can view the trailer here.


The Sustainable Hour interview with Zali Steggall

Zali Steggall, Independent Member for Warringah, is interviewed in this informative podcast where she talks about the value of independents and the growing Voices of movement around Australia.

Independents bring scrutiny and diversity into parliament and force the major parties to collaborate and consult to develop better policies and legislation. They play an important role in holding government to account and are directly answerable to their electorate.

Independents also raise the capability and integrity in parliament. Zali encourages communities to work together to find their best candidate and unite behind them.

Listen to the episode here

How Independents Make a Difference

Do you wonder how an independent candidate can make a difference to an electorate?

Are you curious about how electing an Independent can, in a practical sense, improve life for the communities they serve?

Our friends, Voices of Goldstein, held an online event last week to answer these very questions. The profound positive impact on small business owners and other residents by independent representation is clearly articulated and discussed in this informative forum.

Cathy McGowan AO - former independent member for Indi, and constituents of Indi and Warringah discuss the significant improvements that independent representation has had in their electorates in this inspiring panel discussion: