Elections & Lobbying: Early Birds Get Worms
Posted by Mike Smith
Many people looking for a decision from Government see election time as an opportunity. It can be, but only if you approach it in the right way.
It is true that at election time Governments, parties and candidates are all intent on compiling an attractive and differentiating package of policy and program proposals, and some of them welcome input from industry, community groups and individuals.
However, be warned: capable Governments, political parties and candidates start putting their election policies together a long way out from Election Day, and finalise them months out from Election Day. As a general rule, the bigger the policy announcement or the bigger the budget associated with a policy announcement, the earlier will work commence.
Most advocates looking to make use of election timing as an opportunity to press the case for their particular proposal leave it far, far too late.
What constitutes timeliness varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and depends a lot on the tier of Government with which you are dealing; this makes it impossible to advise a general rule, but a year out from an anticipated Election Day is not necessarily too early to begin advocacy of your proposition.
If you leave your intervention too late, then you have created an additional burden for yourself: as well as proving the validity of your idea or proposal, you will also need to prove that it is of sufficient political or community (i.e. campaigning) importance that the candidate or Party should reopen their policy development processes, and consider incorporating your proposal.
As an outsider to the process you might think that this is quick and easy, but depending on campaign resources and Party resources, and in particular the budgetary impact of your proposal, it can be a significant organisational or time burden to a candidate or a Party late in the campaign, to reopen their policy development processes.
The barriers to raising a new idea in the months immediately before Election Day are substantial.
About Mike SmithPartner in Ethical Consulting Services: www.ethicalconsulting.com; sometime University lecturer; previously Government Relations consultant; before that Labor Party State Secretary in Northern Territory; union advocate with LHMU/United Voice in NT and NSW; hobby – election campaigns!
Posted on August 4, 2015, in Change, Communication, Democracy, Election, Government decision-making, Government Relations, how to lobby, Lobbying, Planning, Policy, Political tactics, Politics and tagged early bird gets the worm, Election Policies, persuasion. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.