Independent MP Cathy McGowan has succeeded in gaining government support to conduct an inquiry into decentralisation. The inquiry is investigating and reporting on best practice approaches to regional development, examining decentralisation of Commonwealth entities as a mechanism to increase growth and prosperity in regional areas, and is looking at ways to encourage greater corporate decentralisation.
When representative democracy turns participatory : Indi and beyond
Headlining IndiTalks next month is Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks from the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. Join us at 10am on Sunday, 20 November 2016 at The Centre, Wangaratta.
We’re pleased to welcome Associate Professor Carolyn Hendriks from the ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy as our guest speaker. An expert of citizen engagement in public policy and the practice and theory of deliberative democracy, Carolyn has followed the Voices for Indi story closely.
Carolyn sees value in the movement Voices for Indi has created.
“Since 2013 I have been watching Indi’s democratic experience evolve and as someone passionate about public participation I think there is something very exciting going on, particularly the way a grassroots movement has been able to reengage local people in federal politics.”
“This is a story that exemplifies much of what I have been trying to argue in my recent research; that current thinking on how to engage the public in politics needs to expand beyond neatly designed consultative forums, to thinking about how to reengage people in the entire democratic process, from community building through to parliamentary democracy,” Carolyn said.
“Other themes I am currently working on include: linking participatory and representative democracy (e.g. the participatory work of parliamentary committees); the role of leaders in facilitating and championing public participation, and how social media in reshaping how local politics.”
Feedback will also be presented from the survey of Team Orange volunteers, a summary review of the 2016 campaign and discussion of what’s next for V4i.
Join us and hear Carolyn’s take on When representative democracy turns participatory on Sunday, 20 November 2016 at The Centre, Wangaratta. A $10 donation per person would be appreciated.
View some of Carolyn’s Indi research here.
Voices for Indi congratulates Cathy McGowan for seeking a second term at the next Federal election. V4I endorsed Cathy as an independent candidate for the 2013 election and continues to support her because she remains committed to honest, respectful and constructive politics based on inclusion, valuing all voices and true representation of her constituents.
Polling day’s an opportunity to celebrate democracy and reconnect the public with politics, so voting should be a positive experience that encourages us to reflect on our ability to have a say about how we’re represented. Based on feedback from supporters, Voices for Indi has made some suggestions to the Federal Parliament.
Click here to read our submission and see the photos we submitted to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into campaigning activities at polling places.
We’re hopeful changes can be made to the rules so that polling day becomes a more positive experience for voters and voting’s something we all look forward to.
When it comes to election campaigns, we think there should be a limit on the amount of advertising signage each candidate is allowed at polling stations. Think back to the last election, in Wodonga we saw whole school fronts swathed in ugly plastic wrap, including schools that weren’t polling places. Hundreds and hundreds of metres of fence line was emblazoned with emotive phrases like, ‘With so much chaos don’t risk your vote on an independent’ and ‘Don’t risk it’.
It was impossible to enter polling booths without passing repeated material potentially intimidating voters and possibly misleading them about the validity of their vote if they risked it by voting for an independent. Hundreds of metres of fences on both sides of the road screamed out that negative messaging. It’s not on.
What was particularly disappointing about this campaigning was the lack of ownership and transparency. Not one of the army of coreflutes, and not one of the pamphlets warning voters against supporting an independent, bore a party logo or a party name, not even in the teeny-tiny print of the authorisation messages. The Liberal Party must’ve known their negative campaign was a bad look – if they were proud of their slogans, wouldn’t they have identified themselves as the authors?
We also saw bucket loads of negative flyers, misleadingly coloured in the same orange as the Cathy McGowan AO campaign flyers, but warning voters against the very candidate whose brand the flyers played upon. These too lacked the Liberal Party logo and nowhere, not even in the five-point fine print, were the words ‘Liberal Party’ or the name of their candidate. The public ought to be able to easily identify those candidates and parties who choose to go negative and monopolise polling booths with intimidating signage and campaign material.
Election material produced by political parties should have to include a reasonable sized copy of that party’s logo and the authorisation, which is an Australian Electoral Commission requirement, should either include the name of the party of which the person authorising the material is a member or the name of the candidate on whose behalf it is being distributed.
The photos provided to the inquiry show Indi’s polling booths were anything but welcoming to voters at the last Federal Election.
We’re hopeful that the Parliament’s inquiry will result in improvements to the current rules regarding campaign activities near polling places, especially those at schools, so the next Federal Election is a less intimidating and less misleading experience for the voters in Indi.
It seems the closer we get to the next Federal election, the more interest Voices for Indi’s receiving from prospective candidates and community leaders looking to learn how V4I began and how it undertook its 2013 Federal election campaign. In response, we’re preparing another IndiShares forum. This will be held at the Oxley Hall in Northeast Victoria later this year.
Key people from Cathy McGowan’s 2013 campaign team and Voices for Indi and will be there to share and discuss all aspects of building participatory democracy and how to conduct an innovative and successful election campaign.
Register your interest HERE and we’ll email you further information once everything is finalised.
Please note that there will be a cost to attend.
For media comment:
- Alana Johnson, V4I President – 0427 624 214
- Denis Ginnivan, V4I Vice-president – 0412 503 498
- or Tammy Atkins, IndiShares coordinator – 0419 751 651