The group which helped Cathy McGowan win election in 2013 is looking for the next “orange independent”.
And the successful person will be chosen by Ms McGowan’s orange army.
In an advertisement in today’s edition of The Border Mail, Voices for Indi has invited “expressions of interest” for the next possible candidate for Indi.
Ms McGowan has been silent on the issue of whether she will run for a third term, only saying succession planning has begun for whenever she does retire.
V4I spokesperson Alana Johnson did not have any further detail on the timing of a new candidate, but revealed details of the succession planning, saying it was part of a fair, innovative and transparent approach.
“For more than 12 months, Voices for Indi has been working on a process for the future to ensure the community can identify and bring forth their own candidate, not wait and hope that some good independent candidate will just ‘pop up’ at election time,” she said.
“Cathy McGowan has not declared her intentions for the 2019 election but has long been supportive of this succession planning preparation for the future.”
The call for expressions of interest now would allow enough time for a replacement if Ms McGowan did step down before an election, expected to be held in May.
She has famously used the colour orange as a signature over the past five years.
Registered supporters known as “team orange” will be the ones to choose Ms McGowan’s eventual successor.
This will be done after a forum in Benalla on January 12 where applicants will state their case and vision for the future in front of orange supporters.
They will have to sign the V4I values statement, endorse “the Indi way” and prove they are eligible to serve as an MP – to avoid any High Court challenges.
“This is very different to the way political parties preselect candidates who are often people in the party ‘pipeline’ and sometimes ‘parachuted’ into an electorate the party thinks they can win,” Ms Johnson said.
“The orange supporters who choose to attend the forum will be able to listen to applicants from their community, ask them questions, reflect on their suitability and, finally, determine a future orange independent candidate.”
She said supporters have told V4I they are looking for a candidate with honesty, integrity, respect, authenticity and good listening.
“Political parties would be well advised to ensure their politicians are also able to practice such principles,” she said.
V4I formally separated from Ms Gowan following her election, but has continued to be active with events such as forums advising people on how to get elected.
Ms Johnson said the past six years was only part of Indi’s story.
“V4I wanted to restore politics based on values, to rebuild trust and collaboration between the constituents and their member of parliament and for politicians to put people before their parties,” she said.
“This is about creating the politicians we want to have by supporting people from our community who are keen to follow the values and practices that the community is looking for.”
Ms McGowan welcomed the announcement inviting expressions of interest.
“I have previously given my support to succession planning in Indi and I welcome the process led by Voices 4 Indi,” she said.
“I encourage those with an interest in politics to put their hand up in response.
“I look forward to being part of the process undertaken by Voices 4 Indi. I expect the outcome will assist my decision about the future.”
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