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Getting the Democracy We Deserve - insights into the community independent movement

In 2022, Community Independents swept through seats that were previously thought to be safe for the major parties. This was also true here in Cowper, with Caz Heise turning the seat marginal. Join us on the 5th of May to consider the impact of community independents and explore how to move forward together to shape Cowper to our needs.

We will hear from our former candidate Caz Heise, in conversation with Phil Haines, one of the founders of Voices for Indi, campaign manager for Cathy McGowan and Helen Haines and co-author of the new book "The Indi Way". They will discuss the lessons from Phil’s book, learnings from recent elections and the impact independents have had in their own communities and on Australian politics more broadly.

Find out how to have your say on what matters to you, connect with people who care about our democracy and learn from those who have been actively involved in doing democracy differently.

Phil Haines

Phil Haines

Phil was a founding member of the grassroots community group, Voices for Indi, in 2012. He was campaign manager for independent Cathy McGowan in the 2013 and 2016 elections, and for Helen Haines in the 2019 and 2022 elections. This was the first time that an independent has succeeded an independent in the Australian parliament. Phil led the team behind the recent book “The Indi Way - how a rural community sparked a social and political movement” and authored numerous chapters. He is passionate about rural communities and sustainable agriculture.

Caz Heise

Caz Heise

As the former independent candidate for Cowper, Carolyn (Caz) Heise was driven by the need for stronger climate action, securing integrity in politics, and community-based representation in parliament. Now a senior health care executive, Caz has held a range of roles across health services and non-government organisations across the Mid North Coast. She is passionate about nursing and midwifery and the provision of high-quality health services, and an advocate for women in leadership. She is also a non-executive director on the board of Cancer Council NSW.


Sunday 5 May - Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour

This is free event but bookings are advised.

Visit the

Voices 4 Cowper Events page


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