Policy and Charity Advocacy

Community Foundations have a unique role in being able to convene smaller organisations, to help them uplift, engage and connect to election cycles.

It is scary to think that we are probably halfway through the current Federal election cycle – betting has begun, with Labor on narrow odds of $1.20 for a win, versus $4.50 for the Coalition – a sign of things to come perhaps? What does this mean for Community Foundations and the organisations you support? For experienced campaigners, it may well be time to get out your election plan and refresh it – and for those new to the game, what is an election plan, and what is it for?

In short, it is a document which maps 12 to 18 months from the next election (could be State, Territory or Federal) and looks at the variables, timelines, and key activities before, during and after the campaign.  Without giving too much away, there is a number of “key dates” coming up in your election campaign framing.

First off the bat is Labor’s National Conference on 17-19 August in Brisbane (the Coalition Parties will have a similar event also). National Conferences are important, particularly on the Labor side as Labor has a binding platform – which means that what is in the party documents (which is chosen by 400 members made up equally of Union representatives and rank and file members) binds even the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Caucus.  The policy decisions, and platform which comes from this will be what Labor takes to the next election – which will be in the back half of 2024, or early 2025.

Other key moments to include in your election diary is when candidates are chosen (and then your style of communications with them after). For instance, Labor in the ACT is currently going through preselection for their next Territory election, due the third Saturday in October 2024 (October 19th). The NT is following a similar timeline, for their slightly earlier elections on 24 August 2024. As is Queensland due on October 26, 2024.  In a period of two months, we have three State/Territory elections, and potential rumours over a federal election around the same time.

Community Foundations have a unique role in being able to convene smaller organisations, to help them uplift, engage and connect to these election cycles. Amplifying the voices of those organisations you support should also be front and centre for Community Foundations.

Outside of the various national policy conferences, election dates, and preselection for candidates, other major milestones need to be the various State/Territory and Federal budgets, as well as any Mid-Year Economic Updates (MYEFO).

For Community Foundations themselves, and the long-standing advocacy around DGR, it is important to keep these timelines in mind also, given things like caretaker convention means decisions may not be able to be made, or are delayed, and sitting weeks impact the ability to get special listing. Regardless of your sector, and where you operate geographically, having a quick map of timelines assists in focus, and reminds you of some of the key things which need doing well in advance.

Neil Pharaoh
11 July 2023

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