The performance of Cathy McGowan at a Victorian county court yesterday was so far the surreal peak of generally surreal trial. The independent MP for Indi was called to testify in Wangaratta by defence lawyers for regional paper The Benalla Ensign, who are being sued for defamation by former Indi MP Sophie Mirabella over an April 2016 story claiming Mirabella publicly pushed McGowan at the opening of a new wing of a retirement home. The paper's concession that they'd gotten the facts of the story wrong put McGowan in a tricky spot. She has never publicly denied the original story.
So, when taking the stand, McGowan took a similar line to the paper. She said she had not been pushed, but maintained she had witnessed Mirabella pushing aged care minister Ken Wyatt to prevent him taking a photo with her; thus, in her estimation the substance of the story was true. Her exact words were: