So we have a new government (just) – Turnbull has been returned with a single seat majority. With so many competing ideologies, the next three years will undoubtedly tough - both for those who make up the 45th Parliament and for those representing the many of issues requiring government attention.
So where to start? We are advanced into the Turnbull Government’s second, ‘first 100 days’, this phase is watched closely by stakeholders, generally because there are clear signals of vision, intent and priorities. There are also early signs of pressure points that will become either strengths or weaknesses in progressing your organisations issues.
To ensure you are in step with the new ‘operating environment’ all organisation advocating for policy change should complete their own First 100 Days plan.
Haven't started? Don’t panic: here are the top 5 things to make sure you include:
1. Evaluate, Evaluate Evaluate
Just as each of the parties will be *cough* evaluating their pitch to the nation – you also need to know how your organisation went - and why you may have hit or missed the policy mark. Your evaluation should answer the following:
- Were your issues embraced by both parties? or Were your issues ignored? Do you know why?
- What was committed? By which party?
- Did any announcements look like you thought they would? Do they need some clarification or was there a complete misinterpretation?
If you don’t know the answers find out. Not evaluating is like putting the wrong address into your GPS – you will be beaten before you even leave the carpark.
2. Swings and round-abouts, it all about margins
Yes, Malcolm won, Bill lost and Antony Green challenged the Australian Electoral Commission to a game of 100 ways to say we don’t have a winner.
That, however, is not the big story for your cause. If your issue has a geographical or ideological impact then you need to do the numbers – some key questions to start with:
- How many seats does your issue impact?
- Did these seats change representation and/or party?
- What was the change by number of seats and margin?
As you probably know, the dust has settled on the confusion and hand-wringing of 2 July, so now is the time to do the analysis and get your numbers straight.
3. Who’s who in the zoo?
Two short weeks away from the first sitting week, each of the parties have allocated portfolios and are now splitting up the various responsibilities contained in them – are you clear who your stakeholders are?
- Do you have a new Minister/Shadow?
- Will the Assistant Minister/Shadow be taking carriage of your issue?
- Who is leading on your issue in the political offices?
- What about the Independents - do you know where they sit on key issues?
- Have the departments allocated staff to key issues?
- Do you know what others are impacted or interested in your issue? What do they think about your position on key policies?
Stakeholder mapping is fundamental – don't waste time by making representation to the wrong people.
4. Say Hi! and introduce your organisation
Now is the right time to say make contact and re/introduce yourself.
Hopefully you fired off a few tweets and Facebook tags during the campaign, so now is the time to write that letter of congratulations.
Once done, pick up the phone and reach out for a ‘coffee’ with ministerial/shadow staffers, departments and other relevant stakeholders. Here you can discuss any issues raised in your evaluation and get any new information that will ensure your organisation is ready for your first meeting with the Minister.
5. Rework your policy positions
By now your evaluation is done, you know who your stakeholders are and have all the information you need to inform a rework of your policy position. Make sure you pick up any new ‘language’ that is being used on key policy issues so you can break down any communication barriers.
Be clear about where you might have gone wrong and adjust your ‘asks’ accordingly. If there are election commitments that impact your organisation be clear about how you see these rolling out and when. As we all know, just because it was committed does not mean it will be funded. Also implementation is an art!