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We Need to Keep Our Eyes Open

Dec 18, 2018

Even though Christmas is almost upon us, not for profits still need to keep their eyes wide open and be prepared for the looming federal election, writes Jo, for Pro Bono Australia.

When you get to a recap of the year in politics it’s usually an opportunity to muse and reflect and to say some wise words.

Well, to be the bearer of bad news – as far as the political calendar goes that’s just not the case this year and feels all sort of wrong. Dreams of naps on the couch, holidays, Christmas, watching the Boxing Day test, eating leftovers or viewing the Sydney-to-Hobart on TV are a bit of a dream.

The downtime window is brief, the ALP is holding its national conference in Adelaide this week and both the federal opposition and Scott Morrison are making daily policy announcements.

It’s just a bit too much at this time in the year but for the sector, we need to keep awake to absorb the detail so we can comment, inform and act.

So my message this week is that the election campaign is already upon us – it’s been here for a while but it’s getting real serious – it’s palpable and the polls just keep rolling up, and with them tensions or excitement depending on how you’re reading them.

So what should we all be doing between now and the New Year to keep sane but also keep our eyes wide open? If you’re keen, or if you have a group of people who look to you for guidance then here’s some top tips.

  • Have a rest (I’m going to), but keep an eye on the news every day – listen to ABC News Radio or ABC local radio in case the government or the opposition makes an announcement that’s relevant to you/your organisation. Scott Morrison is expected to return to the crease in early January and only have a short period off and Bill Shorten will be a few days behind him – that’s a lot shorter holiday break for both sides than in a normal year.
  • Things are likely to keep moving at pace so if you’re not prepared with relevant policy positions, draft media statements or one-page issues statements do it this week. You’ll thank yourself later as they may come in handy.
  • There’s still a chance the election might be called just after the Australia Day long weekend, it’s a longshot but still possible.
  • There’s still time, whenever it is, to make contact with key local decision makers, ministers or shadow ministers. This week when we should be eating Christmas cake, Fifty Acres is currently organising no less than eight events and a raft of client meetings with federal MPs for the February sitting week – as well as a number of town hall style campaign events for February and March. If you don’t give it a go, you will never know.

There is everything to play for right now so keep up the pressure, arrange meetings, put your case forward and don’t give up.

If you want help to navigate the political landscape, or a winning engagement strategy, get in touch with us on 02 6281 7350.

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