McGowan's rock star reception

A RAPT Cathy McGowan received almost a rock star reception outside Parliament House yesterday, even before she spoke in the chamber.

“We’re going to make this place over — it could use a touch of orange,” she said.

Amid the 250 cheering supporters who made the trek up the Hume Freeway from the North East to Canberra were acoustic guitarists, craft people and plenty who packed a picnic for the journey.

Milawa’s Shirley MacPhee gave the member for Indi a quilt with a map of her electorate and all the things that make Indi — food and wine, grapes, jazz, farmlands, even Ned Kelly.

She had promised Ms McGowan the crafty piece back in July, during Wangaratta’s Stitched Up Textile Festival.

“I’ve known Cathy for a long time and being part of her campaign was the nearest thing to when I was involved in Gough Whitlam’s campaign,” Ms MacPhee said.

“It’s that feeling that someone could actually do it, someone you could trust.”

A chorus of the campaign’s theme song From Big Things, Little Things Grow, broke out, then a second “new” number.

Matched with a Woody Guthrie tune, the lyrics spoke for themselves: “We are the army of Cathy McGowan/From all walks of life and many beliefs/And our story has spread right across this great nation/and we won’t go away till our voices are heard”.

Supporters had practised singing on board the buses from Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla that morning, said one of them, Gitta Amor.

Wodonga-based supporters Janine Kop and Eileen O’Reilly felt yesterday’s journey was a natural extension of the grassroots election campaign. “We are being part of history here,” Ms Kop said.

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