Cathy McGowan (politician)

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Cathy McGowan
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Indi
Assumed office
7 September 2013
Preceded by Sophie Mirabella
Majority 0.25%
Personal details
Born (1953-11-29) 29 November 1953 (age 61)
Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Independent
Residence Indigo Valley, Victoria
Occupation Politician
Profession Agricultural consultant, farmer

Catherine "Cathy" McGowan AO (born 29 November 1953) is an Australian politician[1] and independent federal member for Indi.[2]

In 2004 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia "for service to the community through raising awareness of and stimulating debate about issues affecting women in regional, rural and remote areas."[3] McGowan was also a recipient of the Centenary Medal in 2001.

McGowan has a Masters in Applied Science in Agricultural and Rural Development from the University of Western Sydney.[4]


Early politics and lobbyist work[edit]

McGowan worked as a staffer for Indi's Liberal MP Ewen Cameron during the late 1970s and early 1980s.[5] McGowan has also worked as a regional councillor for the Victorian Farmers' Federation and is a former President of Australian Women in Agriculture.[6][7]


McGowan ran as an independent for the Division of Indi at the 2013 Australian federal election, against the Liberal incumbent Sophie Mirabella.[8] The seat had long been reckoned as a conservative stronghold; it had been held by a conservative party for all but nine years since Federation, and without interruption since 1931. However, a number of area residents felt Mirabella had taken them for granted. They formed a grassroots organisation, Voice for Indi, that eventually decided to draft an independent to run against Mirabella. After numerous prominent locals turned down the offer, McGowan finally accepted.[9]

After eleven days of counting, on 18 September, Mirabella conceded defeat and McGowan claimed victory, winning the seat with a final margin of 431 votes.[10][11][11] Mirabella was the only Liberal incumbent to lose her seat at the 2013 election. A number of McGowan's supporters are under investigation because 27 people were enrolled in the voting system in Indi although they no longer lived in the electorate. [12]

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Barrie Cassidy described McGowan's candidacy as "a warning to the occupants of safe seats everywhere on both sides of politics."[9]


Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sophie Mirabella
Member for Indi