I am curious – if honesty is the most valued leadership trait why did 75 million Americans vote for Trump?

It seemed easy to just brush past accountability in a world where, according to the ongoing tally by the Washington Post, Trump made more than 30,000 misleading claims in four years. Source 

Why would you want to follow someone if you suspected that they were lying or trying to trick you?

According to the Leadership Challenge Gurus if you want to: 

  1. Become the kind of leader people want to follow.
  2. Get other people, by free will and free choice, to move forward together in pursuit of a common vision.
  3. Mobilize others to want to struggle for shared aspirations. 

Then the majority of people want a leader who they believe is:

  •  Honest  
  • Competent  
  • Inspiring  
  • Forward-looking

Then I am very curious as to why we keep enabling our politicians to lie to us. 

If you google trump lies  the list is frightening

The truth hurts, but lies kill. The past 12 months have demonstrated that with a terrifying clarity. Lies about Covid, insisting that it was a hoax cooked up by the deep state, led millions of people to drop their guard and get infected. And one big lie about the US election – claiming that Donald Trump had won, when he’d lost – led to the storming of the US Capitol and an eruption of violence that left five dead. Source

and its not just American politicians 


Thirty five years of research by the leadership gurus have shown them, of all the qualities that people look for and admire in a leader, honesty is by far the most personal. People want their leaders to be honest because a leader’s honesty is also a reflection upon their own honesty.

They make this very poignant statement 

It’s the quality that can most enhance or most damage personal reputations. If you follow someone who is universally viewed as having impeccable character and strong integrity, then you’re likely to be viewed the same. If you willingly follow someone who is considered dishonest and unethical, your own image is tarnished. In addition, there is perhaps another, subtler, reason why honesty is at the top. When people follow someone, they believe to be dishonest, they come to realize that they have compromised their own integrity. Over time, they not only lose respect for the leader, they lose respect for themselves.

Honesty is strongly tied to values and ethics. Once upon a time people appreciated leaders who took a stand on important principles. They resolutely refused to follow those who lack confidence in their own beliefs. 

In reality you really are only as good as your word in the eyes of those you aspire to lead.

Why would you want to follow someone if you suspected that they were lying or trying to trick you?

Not knowing our leaders beliefs is contributing to conflict, indecision, and political rivalry.

People simply don’t trust leaders who can’t or won’t disclose or live by a clear set of values, ethics, and standards.

Honesty is the basis of trust and you have to believe that what the leader speaks or knows is true.

I am constantly seeking out role models who walk the talk. 

People who turn  

  •  values into actions,
  • visions into realities,
  • obstacles into innovations,
  • separateness into solidarity

People who make a positive difference and create a climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.

A leading example in this country in Cathy McGowan and she share her inspiring story with our leadership team this week

I am excited 



Invitation for agriculture to refocus – what are we fighting for

When we tell our farmers their worth is measured by how much they contribute to the GDP we are setting ourselves up to fail  

As I watched Landline last Sunday this image of David Burkus came to mind 

Agriculture in this country seems to have lost its way. All the leadership books I have read and all the leadership courses I have attended tell me the importance of having a purpose and values we can all align with. 

Those same books and leadership courses also tell me this is NOT a vision that will inspire Australian farmers to get out of bed everyday 

Why are some people and teams more motivated, more innovative, and more successful than others?

Why do some teams of talented and seemingly compatible people fall short against lesser teams with less suitable members? Why do some leaders cast bold inspiring visions that fail to materialize, while other, seemingly inconsequential leaders rally their teams to victory? More often than not, it’s actually quite simple:

They picked a fight. David Burkus

Young Farming Champion Dione Howard took a deep dive into David Burkus work when she interviewed world renowned leadership coach  Dave Stachowiak

I firmly believe one of the biggest threats to agriculture in this country is how undervalued farmers feel and Landline on 14th Nov was a strong reminder of that.

I look forward to the day agriculture in this country acknowledges people are its great resource and invest in their wellbeing and that starts with a purpose and shared values we can all align with 

From battlefields to boardrooms and everywhere in between, leaders who frame their mission as a fight to be won against a threat that must be removed have been able to bring together even the most divided teams and push them to the highest levels of performance. They’ve tapped into something more inspiring—and more visceral—than casting a visionary strategy or struggling to get buy-in on a mission statement. They’re fighting to remove an injustice. They’re fighting to make their customer’s lives better. Sometimes, they’re even just fighting to survive. But, surprisingly, they’re rarely framing their fight as a battle for market share against the competition.

Those who pick the right fight don’t have to manipulate their people; they inspire them. And the people who follow don’t do it because they have to; they follow because they choose to fight alongside.

People don’t want to join a company; they want to join a crusade.  Source 

It is such a joy when the movement you started spreads its wings

Starting and sustaining a movement is both rewarding and exhausting. I have spent the last 15 years searching for organisations to work with that:

  • understand why agriculture is so conservative
  • acknowledge the barriers to innovation and change and
  • want to work with others to help our farmers turn perceived problems into opportunities.

I am at that point where I believe we have those partners and I can move on to the next chapter in my life

One of the greatest joys from my journey has been watching the emerging leaders we identity and train to be confident communicators who are curious about the world beyond the farmgate becoming changemakers and influencers in the agriculture sector.

They are innovators and life long learners and active in their communities and they are making things happen

This year’s innovation highlight has been the Leadership is Language series where they have identified thought leaders from across the globe to be part of this webcast series where they can share what they are learning with everyone.

The two most recent interviews are a must watch for everyone in the agriculture sector and every in business 

This is a heart wrenching interview What if you don’t come home? between Young Farming Champion Dione Howard and Austral CEO David Carter who shares how we can all learn from worker, health and safety mistakes

And our most recent interview with two extraordinarily courageous women in agriculture who exemplify anticipatory leadership discussing the Icky and the Ouchys of Social Licence

Catherine Marriot reminds us 

“Just because people don’t like hearing it, doesn’t actually make it any less true. And so the risks are still coming at us. I guess we can choose to address those risks and be proactive rather than reactive.” 

and Alison Penfold invites us to 

 “ get on the front foot and collectively work together so that we are in control of managing the risk.  Ensure we are not actually divesting it or delegating it to others, including government, to manage on our behalf. So I think anticipatory leadership is, for me, absolutely critical in any leadership job” says Alison Penfold  

“I think with anticipatory leadership, you need an extra special level of courage and clarity of communication skills, because you’re bringing up things that are pretty Icky and pretty Ouchy. And in order to put those across in a way that enables change, you need good communication skills” say Catherine Marriott

Mega proud of our team who are not only learning to lead themselves and lead others they are sharing what they learn with the world and multiplying their impact 

Happy National Ag Day everyone 

#AgDayAU #YouthinAg




Anticipatory Leadership – training yourself to see problems as opportunities

“The difference between a good leader and a great leader is one who
learns to anticipate rather than react.” —Craig Groeschel

There is no shortage of extraordinary women in the agriculture sector who have courage. 

It was exciting to bring two of our most courageous communicators Catherine Marriott and Alison Penfold together for this interview for the Leadership is Language series.

A must listen. Two authentic women. So real, so gusty discussing the Icky and the Ouchy

They offer agriculture a new way of doing what matter most – communicating to create shared value for everyone who produces and everyone who consumes

“New challenges always equal new opportunities. When you see a
problem, train yourself to think ‘opportunity.’” —Craig Groeschel

You are The Way You Value and Devalue

As I start to put the finishing touches on handing over the reins of Picture to You in Agriculture to the younger generation I am looking forward to focusing on my legacy project. 

It has been clear to me since returning to agriculture 20 years ago the biggest threat to innovation and change in the sector is how undervalued farmers feel. Compounding this is the silo mentality of organisations within the sector. 

What is super exciting is not everyone feels and operates this way. My legacy project will bring together the organisations who believe in collective action for collective impact to deliver shared value projects for the good of the whole  

I have seen a lot of ugliness in the last 20 years, I have seen a lot of thoughtlessness 

The impulse to devalue others always signals a diminished sense of self, as you must be in a devalued state to devalue. That’s why it’s so hard to put someone down when you feel really good (your value investment is high) and equally hard to build yourself up when you feel resentful. Source 

What is inspiring is I have met a lot of visionaries. 

At this point in time I am looking forward to seeing if agriculture is open to embracing the values based advocacy model Cathy McGowan and her team have created in Indi for values based politics 

Watch this space 




Have we lost our moral compass?

Do you think we have lost our moral compass?

From destroying the habitat of Koalas to horses participating in a race for life or death to electing politicians who are not role models for anything but how best to incite everything that is ugly in the world.

Farmer and very wise man Peter Mailler has written a very important OP-ED on the Changing Face of Democracy and invites us all to have some serious conversations

An extract

A functional and robust democracy can only exist if the electorate is well informed. We must be able to trust the government for democracy to truly work and to trust the government, it must be trustworthy.

Many politicians, parties and lobbyists are deliberately dishonest about what they have done, what they will do and what their opponents have done to influence voters.

In such a corrupted environment, there is little hope that the electorate is well enough informed for democracy to function properly. The dishonesty undermines trust in the government and breeds discontent in the electorate.

Governments develop and enforce laws that ensure business people and companies can’t engage in false or misleading behaviour for commercial gain. So why is that standard different for people, parties or interest groups engaging in false or misleading behaviour for political gain?

It is past time for truth in advertising laws that hold political actors – politicians and/or influencers – to the same advertising standard as the business world.

It should be an unambiguous, punishable and punished offence to deliberately mislead the electorate for political gain.

Beyond the lying, democracy is in crisis as election outcomes are increasingly influenced by the resources available to the contestants, as opposed to any genuine contest of ideas and issues within an electorate.

Vested interests are channeling significant resources into major parties that are likely to form government, or hold the balance of power to effectively ‘buy’ influence.

This picking of winners by vested interests reinforces the structural bias of the electoral system to larger and better-resourced parties.

It is anti-competitive in its nature.

Read the full article here

If you are like me and don’t like the way we are all being manipulated by the people with the power ( power we gave them) are using it how do we come together to design and deliver a system with integrity?

When we know we are heading in the right direction and you are looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour

Everyone wants to be proud of the industry they work in. Yesterday I found myself embarrassed to be a farmer.

I was sad that people could feel so undervalued they would share a meme that attempts to add value to themselves by undervaluing others. 

I was sad that at leadership level we apparently aren’t having conversations about what is clearly a much bigger issue.

We are better than this.  I need help. I want to understand how we can reframe our messaging in agriculture from being locked in the Dreaded Drama Triangle to embracing The Empowerment Dynamic

I am looking forward to growing a tribe of people I can have these discussions with. I am looking forward to every agricultural organisation seeing people as its greatest resource and telling them that.

Change starts with us – lets make our People Pillar our first pillar

Before I go – how can agriculture do messaging differently. We could ask Dorie Clark  

Getting off the toxic negativity train

I am currently reading Seth Godin’s book “Marketing You Cant Be Seen until you learn to See”

He gives very wise advice to people with a cause. That all important reminder that involves metaphors around starting small and growing your tribe and letting your tribe be advocates for the cause. You know the ones about not being able to boil the ocean. In his case its the difference between putting purple colouring ( Seth likes purple) in the ocean or in a swimming pool

Today I jumped in the ocean and invited everyone on LinkedIn to join the cause to fight toxic negativity in agriculture. Lets not stop at agriculture. Far too many other sectors use memes like below (sans my addition of yellow text) to feed their feeling undervalued base

When this meme ( sans my addition of yellow text) arrived by “Messenger” from some-one who was asking for advice on how to call it out, I wanted to scream. How do farmers get to a point where they feel so undervalued that we think its okay to bring the rest of the world down with us. When will we address the underlying cause that stops people realising how counterproductive this type of messaging is.

The impulse to devalue others always signals a diminished sense of self, as you must be in a devalued state to devalue. That’s why it’s so hard to put someone down when you feel really good (your value investment is high) and equally hard to build yourself up when you feel resentful. Source 

Why did I ignore Seth’s advice today. Because  I need a bigger tribe that believes in the cause. A tribe that wants everyone to thrive. Our farmers (and every sector who thinks like this) need help. They need communication skills help. We so need to learn how to frame our messaging. We so need leadership.

Some great advice in this article from Harvard Business Review. How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible  

Seek out positive relationships — inside and outside of work.  Research has found that de-energizing relationships — in which one person possesses an enduring, recurring set of negative judgments, feelings, and intentions toward another person — have four to seven times greater impact on an employee’s sense of thriving than energizing, positive relationships. To offset these effects, surround yourself and spend more time with energizers — the people in your life who make you smile and laugh, and lift your spirits.

You may not be able to stop the flow of negativity in your life, especially right now, but you can resist its toxic effects by making smart choices about who and what you surround yourself with, the mindset you adapt, and the information you consume. Not only will you be better off because of these choices — those around you will too.

Young Farming Champions meet our Kreative Koala Kids

Reading the Foundation for Young Australians latest report – The Missing Young People in Australian News Media it is clear it is pretty profound what our teachers do, helping the young people they teach realize that they have more potential and skill than the world tells them that they do.

A Picture You in Agriculture we think a lot about the hopes and dreams of young Australians. We want to understand their frustrations and we invest our time in helping them change the culture.

As agents of change we see part of our role is to consistently help the idea spread from person to person, engaging a tribe as you make change happen.

To paraphrase the Boss (showing my age) we work with the teachers and students to determine 

“What is the work for us to do in our short time together?”

One thing we can do at Picture You in Agriculture is help change the way young people view the world of work. 

As a result of COVID there is up to 100,000 more young Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 not in employment, education or training and 60% of young Australians are not confident they can get a job or have the right skills to get a job

Building young people’s confidence starts in our homes and in our schools. Research tells us that young people going from primary to secondary school have closed their minds to up to 70% of the current careers available let alone be thinking about the careers that will exist in ten years’ time that don’t exist today

To open their eyes to the diversity of careers in the agriculture sector over the next three weeks our Kreative Koala kids will get the opportunity to meet 15 of our Young Farming Champions who will be zooming into their classrooms 

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Knowing how much impact our Young Farming Champions have on young peoples perceptions of careers in agriculture I am looking forward to hearing the stories 


What does courage look like – Cathy Goes to Canberra

Role models show young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. They play an essential part in a child’s positive development.

Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. We owe it to our young people to surround them with leadership role models we can all aspire to be.

I don’t know about you but I was appalled when I saw this photo.   Far too  many of our  politicians  seem to not have any concept of what integrity looks like or even any idea how to be polite.

Yesterday I listened to Cathy Goes to Canberra a very  powerful episode of Conversations with Richard Fidler. As I listened I asked myself how much more could we improve the well being outcomes for our children if we had more political role models like Cathy McGowan

Below is a transcription of some of the conversation that truly resonated with me

“What does modern effective representation look like? Couldn’t we do better if we had a community representative who the community elected rather than a party representative who owed their allegiance to the party and all the party funders?” Cathy McGowan

Cathy McGowan:

I think that argument really worked for people. They actually could see and think, “Yeah, that’s a really good point. Cathy, if we get behind you, we’ll hold you to account,” which is what they did. That was the commitment I made to my community, that I would be true to them, that no one would ever buy my vote. It would always be what would be good for Indi.

Richard Fidler:

There was something new about that idea, but very old fashioned at the same time, wasn’t there? In so far as, it seemed fresh in a new approach to contemporary democracy, but it did embody it into a large degree, the kind of original spirit of the whole Westminster system, that you would have independent people elected to the parliament. They would exercise their judgments, having been entrusted into the job by the local people. Did you see it that way at the time?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, look, I certainly did. If we’re going to have a country that reaches its potential, people have got to participate. You’ve actually got to turn up, speak up and step up to positions of responsibility in your community. Then, you learn the job as you go along.

Cathy McGowan:

That was my belief. I’m a great believer in democracy and participatory democracy. I really trust in like our political system, but it works on competition. If you haven’t got any competition in the system, then you’re invisible. We had no competition in Indi. I was pretty sure that if we could make the seat competitive, we could change the outcome. Even if we didn’t win the seat, if we were competitive, then Sophie, if she won, she would bring more things into the electorate.

Cathy McGowan:

That’s certainly what happened in 2009. On my word, the Liberal Party bent over backwards to promise things to Indi. It was making the seat competitive that would make the difference. I would say through your program today, to all the seats who are somehow safe, one side or another, it just doesn’t work. You’ve got to be in the competition. It’s the marginal seats that actually get the goodies.

Richard Fidler:

What was your approach going to be, being a newly elected member for Indi after that extraordinary victory you had in the 2013 election? How did you think you would be best able to draw attention to what you thought were the most urgent issues, both nationally and locally?

Cathy McGowan:

I have to admit, I was terrified. Oh, I didn’t know how to do the job really. I’d been a staffer and it was the new parliament house and I hoped I could hide. I was scared, all these really famous people, all these important people. Someone had told me that there was this other chamber in parliament, called the Federation Chamber. It was Anna Burke who was the speaker at the time.

Cathy McGowan:

She said, “There’s the Federation chamber. You can make speeches there.” I thought, “Oh God, I’m going to hide there. I’ll hide in the Federation Chamber,” and because it was just the enormity of the job, it just totally scared me, but I got over that I have to say reasonably quickly, because one of the early bits of legislation, other than dismantling the carbon trading system, was one that was going to have severe implications for education provision in Albury-Wodonga.

Cathy McGowan:

That really motivated me. It was probably six months in. I could see, oh, if this gets voted through, then it was going to ruin La Trobe and CSU in Albury-Wodonga. I knew about education and I could see a way through, of working in parliament and working with the senators. If we could work together, we could defeat the government’s legislation, which is what did happen.

Cathy McGowan:

The government lost that vote, because the senators voted it down, I think by one vote in the end and they brought it up again. There was that story. What I really learnt was to work with the senators, because there was a lot more chance to influence debate in the Senate because Tony Abbott had all the numbers in the House of Reps.

Cathy McGowan:

At the same time, Clive Palmer, he was also a member of parliament. His office was just down the road from me and we became an unlikely duo. We worked together with his senators as well and we were able to do some really good work on amending the government’s legislation around arena and the clean energy finance corporation, but what I came to understand was parliament’s a community and that there are people who are there, who … a bit like working with the fire brigade in Indigo Valley.

Cathy McGowan:

You might not agree with their politics on everything, but when there’s a bush fire, you’re all on the same truck. I was able to build alliances across parties, around topics of interest, and that worked really well for me. I didn’t actually have to be the captain of the team and I didn’t have to always be the one leading out. I could be a facilitator and bring people together. Over the six years I was there, I love the position of being on the cross bench, none aligned to any of the major parties and basically being able to work with anyone in parliament, depending on what the issue was.

Richard Fidler:

I went to see Question Time for the first time in my life around about that time, Cathy and I took my son along. As I was watching from up in the gallery, suddenly it became apparent to me that hasn’t been apparent after all these years of watching Question Time on TV, is how much like it is a set piece battle viewed from above, how you can see there’s the government, that wants to maintain its occupation of the treasury benches. There’s the opposition that are facing it and seem to be almost pushing forward to occupy the benches. It feels like a set piece military battle, when viewed from that distance.

Richard Fidler:

What does that feel like from the cross benchers? Do you get the same sensation?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, look. Absolutely. How I would explain it to the volunteers who came and worked in my office in Canberra, I said, “Just imagined it’s like an AFL footy grand final. You’re Carlton versus Collingwood and they’re athletes, they’re elite athletes and the whole game is choreographed. That’s the main game. The thing about being on the cross bench and being from Indi,” and I would say to my colleagues, I’d say, “it’s a bit like playing for [inaudible 00:20:18] in the grand final. I’m allowed on the field, but I’m only occasionally allowed to get a pass. As long as I don’t interfere with the main game, I’ll be allowed to do …”

Cathy McGowan:

That was good enough, because I only needed to get six behinds to get a goal. Over the six years I got three or four goals without interfering with the main game, but those three or four goals really made a big difference to my community. I suppose I say in the book that I stuck to my knitting. I didn’t pretend to be Collingwood or Carlton. I really knew my place in that parliament. I knew I was on the cross bench and I knew I had to build coalitions and then get the coalitions around my issues would work for me.

Cathy McGowan:

I never thought I was part of the government, never thought I was part of the opposition. I was always an independent member of parliament and really prized that ability to report to my community as being really important.

Richard Fidler:

Of course, you go into the parliament, seeing these famous political figures. Then, after a while you realize that not all of them are rocket scientists, so to speak. Some people then genuinely surprise you. Were you pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by the caliber and character of your fellow members of parliament?

Cathy McGowan:

Oh, there’s a long pause here. I am significantly disappointed, I have to say. Really, the calibre, the life experience, the values of many, many members of parliament disappointed me. There is a thing called the parliamentary handbook and you can look through people’s occupation at the back of it. There is so much similarity. There were no nurses there. The women from rural and regional Australia that I’d been working, with Australian women in Ag, they were really capable women. They were running properties; they were managing families. They were multimillion-dollar businesses buying and selling wool on the stock exchange, going overseas, traveling, doing business.

There was none of the women who I had met through Australian women at the calibre of those women who had a deep commitment to community who were in parliament. The people who were there, I often had to question their motivation for being there and the role that the parties have to control people’s agenda. The thing about parties is people pay money to belong to a party. Then, they sign on to agree to the agenda that somebody else sets. Then, they go into parliament and follow it.

Cathy McGowan:

I just constantly saw that argy bargy happening. It’s not that I’m against parties. I understand the need to set up alliances, but I just think we’ve lost it in the middle somewhere that we’re actually there servicing our communities and their interests. I think if I could have anything happen, it would be more of the women I knew through Australian Women in Ag, who actually knew about drought and flood and bush fires and communities and working across difference. If there was just a handful of them in parliament, it would be really different, but they’re not there.

Richard Fidler:

Maybe there’s something about the quality of political life that it’s really quite horrible for normal people. To that extent we get, in some ways the parliament we deserve. The kind of people who are prepared to put up with the life that’s asked of them to be a member of a political party in the government or an opposition, maybe it’s so unappealing for the people you’re talking about, they don’t run for parliament. What we get other people who are prepared to stay.

Cathy McGowan:

Certainly. If I could change that perception, because I was there. Being a politician has got a very bad reputation, but my experience was so different. I had six good years and I loved the job. I love being of service. I didn’t want to keep doing it forever. Six years was a good period of time. I know Helen Haines feels exactly the same way. She now goes in with strength and ambition and she’s loving the job.

We can change it. It will change if women of calibre, people of calibre getting there and do the job professionally, but what makes it so special is when I go shopping now, my community says, “Thank you. Oh, thank you, Cathy. I really appreciated how you helped me do this. And thank you for doing that. And I’m really glad that you did the work on the ICAC. And thanks so much for the work you did on the drought,” and that’s recognition, not that I did it for thank you, but that recognition now, 18 months later.

I go, “Yeah, it was a really good job.” If we had more people doing it for the community, people would really enjoy it, because there’s so much satisfaction in it.

Richard Fidler:

What are you most proud of as a member of parliament, Cathy?

Cathy McGowan:

The fundamentally most important thing for me is that we’ve kept the seat independent. That the people of Indi liked what we did enough that despite the Liberal Party and the national party throwing millions of dollars in inducements, the people of Indi voted for Helen Haines. The community got the vision and they moved from being cynical and sceptical about politics to saying,

“Actually, it’s about us and if we get involved … not only getting a member of parliament up, but getting involved in state politics, getting involved in our local government … if we get involved and have opinions, if we turn up and we speak up and we step up to responsibility, we can actually make our communities better.”

Richard Fidler:

You were a big supporter of the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission, the federal ICAC or ICAC, if you like. The government has indicated that it has support for it in some form, but it’s too busy right now to go about implementing it, because of the COVID emergency. What do you think of that and where we’re at, at the moment with establishing an anti-corruption commission?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, it’s a bit about the morals and the values, isn’t it? I’m profoundly disappointed. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull said that he would support a ICAC. Scott Morrison told me to my face that he would support an ICAC. Christian Porter said to me that he would introduce an ICAC. Two years later … this is after I introduced my private members bill in December 2018 … and still the government hasn’t done it.

Why haven’t they done it? The only reason can be because they are so terrified of what skeletons there are in their closets, because there’s no other explanation that would explain why they haven’t done it. Then, that just makes me feel so incredibly disappointed to the place we’ve got in Australia, where our government is not brave enough to have a fully funded, really robust, modern Australian Integrity Commission.

It’s not an Anti-Corruption Commission. It’s actually an Integrity Commission where we can be proud of who we are and we don’t work from the negative. We work from the positive space of government being for the people, of the people, by the people and how proud we are, because we’re a nation of integrity.

I don’t think we are that. I’m so, so disappointed that our leaders don’t have the vision for what we could be as a nation and that they’re working from the lowest common denominator. They’re making pathetic excuses about why things can’t be better.

Richard Fidler:

Is an Anti-Corruption Commission the same thing as an Integrity Commission? Or is it a different thing in your mind?

Cathy McGowan:

No, they’re basically the same, they’re just different words, but what I really like about Helen Haines private member’s bill, it actually works from the positive of what would we need to do to create integrity in our system and how do we protect it?

It’s a very strong, positive opportunity-based bit of legislation. What the government is proposing is anti-corruption, which means we’ll just get you into trouble if we catch you doing something wrong, which I don’t think is what we as a nation need. I think we actually need to be striving to be better. We actually need to strive … for the long-term is to actually keep re-inventing our nation through participatory politics, which actually makes us better. I just think that’s really important.

Richard Fidler:

Like you said, you’ve stepped down after two terms. Helen Haines, another independent was elected to the seat with your strong support. Do you nonetheless miss it? This stuff is happening in the news all the time. Do you really wish you could step into the chamber and give them a piece of your mind, Cathy?

Cathy McGowan:

I do listen to Question Time. My friends go, “Oh, you have to be kidding.” Usually it’s on in the background. No, I don’t miss it. I’m really pleased to now be on the next stage of my life. I totally am delighted that Helen Haines is in there. She’s even better on policy than I am, and she’s really strategic and she’s got a great team.

It feels like she’s standing on the shoulders, if you want. Now, at my time is about actually encouraging more regional independence to stand for politics. If I could just share this one statistic with you, Richard. In Indi in 2013, we knew that 1/4 voters had to change their vote for me to get 25,000 votes to be enough to be in the preference list. That’s out of 100,000 people. We needed 25,000 votes, which is 1/4.

I absolutely know that if 1/4 people who live in the regions changed their vote, we could be in a different space. It’s possible if we had quality candidates running both in the Senate and in the House of Reps. That’s my mission now, is to actually go out and talk around the regions and in the cities and say, “1/4 votes could change,” and we actually could have a different public perception of who we are as a nation. We actually could get involved and engaged in a really wonderful country that we could be.

I don’t think we’ve anywhere nearly reached our potential. I want us to.

Couldn’t agree more Cathy