Liberal Party members are heading back to school this weekend to learn lessons in campaigning — from the very team that brought them undone in Indi.
Liberal Party members, as well as The Nationals, are among the 70-plus registered for this Saturday’s “Indi Shares” forum at Oxley.
The forum is hosted by Voices 4 Indi — the grassroots movement that helped oust former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella in favour of independent Cathy McGowan in last year’s federal election — and will see folks from the frontline of that campaign revealing how they did it.
Voices president Alana Johnson said the registration list revealed a diverse array of participants from across Australia, including Townsville, Toowoomba and the Northern Rivers region of NSW; university students and unionists; local councils, and representatives from political parties like the Liberals and Nationals.
Liberals for Indi field officer Karen Rourke said she was unaware of any local members attending, but if they were they would be “doing so as private citizens”.
Ms Johnson said the “interesting cross- section” of attendees reflected a “huge ricochet across the country” since the Abbott government had come into power, with a spike in forum registrations since the federal budget’s release.
“I think a lot of people are disappointed, post-federal election, at how things are panning out,” she said.
“A lot of people had hopes things would improve ... but there are strong feelings that people are being ignored.
“There’s a growing realisation everywhere that people are no longer willing to accept the political elite are automatically going to run the country.”
Ms McGowan’s nephew Ben, another Voices member who will speak on Saturday, agreed.
“People have been put off by the closed nature of major political parties and institutions and we showed people a more up-to-date way of doing things,” he said.
Saturday’s forum will include discussions on 10 themes, including how to run community “kitchen table” conversations, using social media and crowd-funding, marketing and branding, and how to be an independent candidate.
Ms McGowan will be one of the speakers.