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The Election Is Coming

15 January 2019 at 7:35 am
Jo Scard
Fifty Acres founder and managing director Jo Scard highlights ways the social sector can get ready to leverage the positioning of the main parties in the lead up to the federal election.

Jo Scard | 15 January 2019 at 7:35 am


The Election Is Coming
15 January 2019 at 7:35 am

Fifty Acres founder and managing director Jo Scard highlights ways the social sector can get ready to leverage the positioning of the main parties in the lead up to the federal election.

Well, we’ve all had a few quiet weeks, laid on the couch and watched the cricket, lazed by the pool/beach/BBQ or just generally done not much.

Things are going to change soon people, sorry to say. The standard lazing period won’t extend to Australia Day this year. Because, they are already at it.

Well, first things first – election timing.

Scott Morrison reiterated this week that they will bring down a budget in April and then head to the polls in May. If we take him at his word that means no early election, ie February. But it’s heading our way, and fast.

And again on Monday the prime minister and the leader of the opposition went soundbite-to-soundbite in duelling visits to the Northern Territory. Scott Morrison got wind of Bill Shorten’s impending visit to the top end this week and whizzed up there himself to trump him.

So, in some senses, some things haven’t changed – there continues to be an awful lot of noise, an awful lot of early, positive, telegenic, pre-election announcements and an awful lot of smiling, handshakes and doorstops.

But the election is coming and the main parties and key independents are going full pelt.

The main parties are using the time between now and May to frame the public discourse to their advantage – defining the issues to suit their strengths as we approach the election proper.

So what can the social sector and not for profits do now to be ready to leverage the positioning of the main parties?

Here are a few tips:

  1. You need to keep on top of the election posturing so you can work out how you’ll position your own organisation – set up Google alerts or media monitoring to stay abreast of what’s being said.
  2. Have a quick daily check-in with key staff about what you’ve all observed and work out if there is anything you can usefully add to the public/media debate. On the run-up to any election news and debates move and change fast so daily team discussions are a really useful way of strategising.
  3. If you’re up-to-date on what’s happening you and your organisation can respond properly, either rebutting or aligning with various announcements.
  4. With a bit more time there are opportunities to organise one-on-one meetings in either Canberra in the February sitting week (but get in quick) or with key MPs in their electorate offices (potentially more travel involved but you’ll be given a better hearing).
  5. There’s also the real option of organising events in key marginals that mobilise your organisation or a coalition in your space to give voice to your ideas and asks – this can be an achievable/doable small roundtable event.
  6. Lastly, politicians are duty bound to listen and respond to you, it’s their day job and it’s up to us to remind them of that, so never be afraid to approach your local MP, relevant minister or shadow minister because they need you to listen just as much as you need them to listen to you.

To help not for profits take action, Fifty Acres is offering free Government Engagement Workshops on 26, 27 and 28 February in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

With an early federal election possibly just around the corner, organisations, not for profits and companies need to take action now to put their organisation in a strong position whatever the outcome.  

In this free workshop, led by myself, you will learn the practical tips, and actions your organisation should consider in the lead up to the election.

Our workshop will cover the things you can do right now, as well as some medium- to long-term plans your organisation should adopt to boost your government engagement in 2019 and beyond.

There will be a free goody bag, tea, coffee and refreshments.

We hope to see you there!

Register now for free to book your seat:

If you want help to navigate the political landscape, or a winning engagement strategy, get in touch with Jo Scard at Fifty Acres on 02 6281 7350 or visit


Jo Scard  |  @ProBonoNews

Jo Scard is the founder and managing director of Fifty Acres.

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