CATHY McGowan has made the startling revelation her late father Paul was part of the selection committee that chose Sophie Mirabella to lead the Liberals in Indi more than a decade ago.
In the same week Mr McGowan would have celebrated his 90th birthday, his daughter is giving Mrs Mirabella the fright of her political life.
Mr McGowan died early last year and a year later his family joined forces behind Cathy to support her tilt at Canberra.
“He was a very strong and supportive Liberal,” Ms McGowan said.
“I don’t know what you do with that.
“But he really loved family and wanted to make the whole tradition of family and community and people getting together once a year.”
The McGowan clan stood at the front line of the orange warriors, aka Voice4Indi, on election night in Wodonga and Wangaratta watching a torrent of support flood its way.
The scenes at The Cube on Saturday night were like none other experienced on election night before in Wodonga.
Her supporters, many of them decked in orange, chanted “Cathy, Cathy, Cathy” after she addressed the 250-strong crowd before heading for Wangaratta.
They also began to sing the protest song From Little Things Big Things Grow.
Before finally breaking away from the big crowd of well-wishers, Ms McGowan cut a celebratory cake with youngster Kimberly Agagbazue, who is the daughter of Congolese refugees, Christian and Geraldine, who live in Wodonga.
Ms McGowan paid tribute to the orange warrior ranks, which swelled to more than 600 on election day.
“Never underestimate the power of a small number of people and what they can do,” she said.
“So many people have done so much and so many people have given so much.”
Voice4Indi was represented at every Indi booth, stretching from Wodonga to Woods Points in the south.
She also paid tributes to her rivals and read a quote she discovered on the toilet door at the Mittagundi camp which summed up the mood for change.
“There was a time when someone else thought there was a destined place for us and it was called safe seat,” she said.
“Not any more and in the changing of that Indi community has claimed a fantastic space.
“Regardless of what happens tonight we will never be the same again.”
One of those swelling the Voice4Indi ranks was Judy Ryan, who travelled from Melbourne to assist at the St Augustine’s Primary School booth on election day and helped douse a minor controversy relating to incorrect wording on the McGowan signs.
She spent 30 years living in the North East and never thought she would see the day when Indi played a prominent role in an election.
“This is my territory and I felt I really needed to come back because this is such good news for the people who live in the North East who have been under-represented.”
She said Ms McGowan would make a great representative in Canberra.
“She can have a little bit of mongrel in her at the negotiating table because of her passion for Indi,” she said.
“But she is not going to totally dismiss people.”
Ms McGowan was already a winner before voting closed on Saturday with her favourite football team Barnawartha continuing a giant-killing run to the Tallangatta and District league grand final after sealing a finals berth in the last round.