Cathy McGowan's clan won't teach us much

THE Liberal Party’s peak body in Indi has hit back at claims it will be attending the political forum at Oxley today arranged by the masterminds of Cathy McGowan’s successful federal election campaign last September.

The Border Mail has obtained a strongly worded email from Indi federal electorate conference chairman Tony Schneider dismissing comments Liberals could learn from the “secrets” of Voices 4 Indi’s campaign at the forum.

Mr Schneider also states local Liberal field officer Karen Rourke was contacted multiple times about her and party representatives enrolling in the $180 a head forum.

The Border Mail article gives the strong impression that V4I’s success in the September 2013 election was due to some ground-breaking new strategies and techniques that have never been thought of before,” Mr Schneider wrote.

“They want people to believe that the established political organisations — especially the conservative ones — are sending representatives to learn these ‘secrets’.

“This is simply not true.

“In the lead-up to this weekend, V4I contacted our field officer Karen Rourke a number of times inviting her or a Liberal Party rep to enrol.

“Presumably so they could claim they have representation from across the political spectrum.

“The facts are that V4I’s campaign in 2013 relied heavily on support from the Labor Party, Greens, GetUp, trade unions and the Victorian Women’s Trust, with most of the personnel from anywhere but Indi.”

Mr Schneider said investigations “to date” had not identified any member of the Indi federal electorate conference was enrolled to attend.

“The Indi federal electorate conference has not sanctioned or encouraged any Liberal Party member to attend this event either in an official or unofficial capacity,” he said.

“The executive of the Indi federal electorate conference believe that engaging with V4I in this way would be counter-productive to our strategy to win back Indi.

“Of course we can’t prevent members from attending in a private capacity and we can’t be sure if members from outside Indi are attending.”

Voices 4 Indi president Alana Johnson said yesterday she could not say for certain Liberal Party members would be attending, saying representatives from “across the political spectrum” would attend.

She told The Border Mail earlier in the week there would be Liberal and National representatives in attendance.