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Five more sleeps everyone

2 April 2019 at 7:30 am
Jo Scard
With budget promises in the air and the election set to be called later this week, Jo Scard offers not for profits advice on how to prepare.

Jo Scard | 2 April 2019 at 7:30 am


Five more sleeps everyone
2 April 2019 at 7:30 am

With budget promises in the air and the election set to be called later this week, Jo Scard offers not for profits advice on how to prepare.

Today is Budget Day – expect it to be laden with good news and goody bags, including a small surplus. It’s not a ridgy-didge budget though, beware. What happens in this week’s budget and the Opposition’s budget reply is all about positioning for the election, not uber sensible nor visionary fiscal decision-making.

Sorry if you had sorta, kinda forgotten and wanted life to be all normal like, but within days we will be in the midst of the federal election campaign. It’s been phoney jousting for a while now, I know.

I don’t have a history of winning well on the Melbourne Cup but my guess is the election will be called this Sunday (if Scott Morrison wants to go a little rogue he might opt to shake it up a little and call it Friday). And the election date will be 11 May. That makes it a manageable five-week campaign for the Coalition, not too long so that things get whacky, but long enough to try and emphasise the positives in tonight’s budget, save as much furniture as possible and exploit any weaknesses or slip-ups in the Opposition’s costings, campaign and messages.

One thing is for certain, just because we have seen 12 million Newspolls that have put Labor ahead in the past four years, doesn’t mean that that’s the result we’ll see on election night. Far from it. Why? Because elections don’t serve up nationally consistent swings. They don’t allow for who will be preferencing who. Where will One Nation’s preferences go? How well will Clive Palmer’s UAP go and where will their preferences flow?

Most polls are done with online panels where people log on and complete a survey via their computer in return for an incentive – they are almost never done by phone because people can opt-out, making the poll unreliable and distorted.

What has become apparent in recent years both here and internationally is that people are not always telling pollsters the truth. Here in Australia, that results in us either wildly underestimating or overestimating One Nation and other minor parties and independent votes.

National polls also don’t allow for local campaigns and local circumstances, strong and weak candidates, local campaign stuff-ups.

Rightyo, if it’s starting in a few days time, what should we all do?

If you haven’t got organised, it’ll be hard to start a brand new campaign this week, but there’s a bunch of things you can do:

  • Get organised and don’t wait until after the election to engage. Use public forums and campaign events as an opportunity to meet local candidates and key spokespeople.
  • Keep going and don’t give up, if you never get started nothing will happen – keep in touch with the key decision makers and make sure you engage with the opposition.
  • Prepare one-pagers on important programs/policies that you need support for and get them in front of anyone and everyone who matters. It’ll pay dividends after the election.
  • Stay in the loop – keep on top of the election posturing and position your organisation. Remember things move really fast.
  • Have a voice and constructively add to the public/media debate. Use the media as a conduit to let the local community know what you’re doing to improve their lives in relation to a particular issue.
  • Most importantly continue to be an effective advocate – you and your organisation should respond properly to issues and debates as they arise.

To help kickstart your post-election efforts our new ACCELERATOR program is designed to give you the knowledge and skills to accelerate your communications and engagement to the next level.

As you know, at Fifty Acres, we do great work – for good. We care about the not-for-profit sector and make it our business to see you succeed.

That’s why we’ve developed our new ACCELERATOR program.

With two intakes a year (February and July) not-for-profit and for-purpose organisations have the chance to apply for the program which provides communications and government engagement insights and training, counsel, objective setting, implementation and project evaluation, to the value of $20,000 over 18 months.

For more information on how to apply please email or visit our website

If you want help to navigate the political landscape, or come up with 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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