Category Archives: Planning

Last Week in Queensland – 12 December 2016

steam-trainGovernment rail operator QR continued causing political pain for Labor, a tripartite deal to stimulate Townsville’s economy, and Adani’s Carmichael mine accelerate their planning, kept us talking* last week in Queensland.

 

Governing

 

The Opposition and Crossbench

MP for Cairns Billy Gordon

MP for Cairns Billy Gordon

 

Politics

 

Communitytownsville-logo

 

Economy and Infrastructure

 

 

ParliamentOpening Parliament 2015

  • Queensland’s Parliament has finished sitting for 2016, and next sits from Tuesday 14 February to Thursday 16 February
  • The Queensland Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/whats-new
  • Federal Parliament has finished sitting for 2016, and next sits from Tuesday 7 February to Thursday 9 February

 

Sleeper Issues?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.

 

 

Last Week in Queensland – 30 May 2016

last-week-logo-2Government proposals for superannuation see angst arising, and, sadly, ongoing violence at Aurukun community led the news* last week in Queensland.

Governing

 

The Opposition and Crossbench

 

redistribution-commissionPolitics

 

Community

 

Economy and Infrastructure

 

Parliament

  • Opening Parliament 2015Queensland’s Parliament next sits for the State Budget, from Tuesday 14 June to Friday 17 June; the budget will be presented on 14 June
  • The Queensland Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/whats-new
  • The Federal Parliament has been prorogued until after the Federal Election on 2 July – see www.aph.gov.au

 

 

* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual.  Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.

 

 

How To Lobby

demandingA great resource if you want something from Government – our updated* directory of How To Lobby articles**, published over the last thirty months, and indexed by topics.

Click one of these links to take you to that topic/heading:

      1. Why
      2. Who Does It?
      3. Reality Bites
      4. Strategy
      5. The Basics
      6. Targeting
      7. Policy Processes – What You MUST Know
      8. Getting Ready
      9. The Meeting
      10. What To Ask For
      11. How To Ask For It
      12. When To Ask
      13. Specialties

Why

Why Lobby? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-r

“Why Lobby?” Encore http://wp.me/p4xOhB-A

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Who Does It

Who’s a Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-N

Who’s Your Best Lobbyist? http://wp.me/p4xOhB-23

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Reality Bites

Lobbying: The Dirty Truth https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/lobbying-the-dirty-truth/

Myths & Legends of Lobbying https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/myths-lobbying/

Dogbert Does Lobbying
Regulating Lobbyists: Hardly https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/regulating-lobbyists-hardly/

Australian Lobbying: Credibility Fail https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/australian-lobbying-credibility-fail/

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Strategy

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There! https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/dont-just-do-something/

Strategy & Delusion https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/strategy-delusion/

DON’T Increase Awareness https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/dont-increase-awareness/

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burke-grillThe Basics

Lobbying: 6 Things to Know https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/6-lobbying-things/

Lobbyists Do WHAT? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/lobbyists-do-what/

Lobbying is Marketing https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/lobbying-is-marketing/

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Targeting

“Get Me The Premier!” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/get-me-the-premier/

Who’s the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/who-decision-maker/

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Policy Processes – What You MUST Know

Mysterious & Mysteriouser: How Did THAT Happen?  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/mysterious-mysteriouser/

“So When WILL They Decide???” https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/when-will-they-decide/

From Althaus, Bridgman and Davis

From Althaus, Bridgman and Davis

How’s Your Rat King? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/rat-king/

The Uber-Rat-King https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/the-uber-rat-king/

What IS A “Policy Instrument,” Anyway? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/what-is-policy-instrument/

Sax vs. Cymbals https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/sax-vs-cymbals/

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Getting Ready To Lobby

Lobbying Labor’s Queensland Government: How? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/lobbying-labors-queensland-government-how/

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The Meeting

How to Get That Meeting https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/how-to-get-that-meeting/

What if You Can’t Connect with the Decision-Maker? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/cant-reach-decision-makers/

When you meet the Minister … https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/when-you-meet-the-minister/

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What To Ask For

Persuading Government: What You Say  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/persuading-government-what-you-say/

What Makes A Policy Good? https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/policy-good/

Make Your “Ask” Feasible https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/make-your-ask-feasible/

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agressive-manHow To Ask For It

Connecting with Decision-Makers https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/connect-decision-makers/

Tell Government a Story!  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/story-to-government/

Motivating & Persuading https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/motivating-persuading/

Persuading Government: How To Say It  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/persuading-government-how-to-say-it/

The Talking Dead: Say This & Your Project Dies  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/the-talking-dead/

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When To Ask

Election Time: Early Birds Get Worms!  https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/elections-lobbying-early-birds/

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Specialties

Crisis Management 101 https://ethicalconsultingservices.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/crisis-management-101/

And now, over to you:

What other topics would you like to see covered?  What have you struggled with in the past, when looking for decisions from Government?

 

* With more content than the version published in 2015!
** There will be more!
Take me back to the top of this article!

 

Elections & Lobbying: Early Birds Get Worms

early_bird_smallTo be the cat that’s got the cream, remember that the early bird definitely gets the worm … when it comes to ensuring an election campaign embraces your policy proposal.

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.

cat_cream_smallAs 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.

 

 

Make Your “Ask” Feasible

When you want something from Government, it has to be something they can deliver.

Tough DecisionsSometimes, it is pretty clear whether something can be delivered, or not – you can’t have a State or Local Government do something where the power to do it is exclusively vested in the Federal Government, for example.

Mostly, though, feasibility is a “maybe” rather than a clear “yes” or “no”, in which case you need to work out whether what you want is too hard to get, and whether you must

  • seek something else right now, maybe part of what you originally have wanted, which has a greater prospect of being acceptable, or a different way to get your outcome delivered,
  • look for it later (say, when the Government has changed, or after a Ministerial reshuffle), or
  • abandon your plans altogether.

How can you make such an important business or organisational decision?

travel_as_strategy_smallFirst, treat achieving your objective like a journey:

  • identify where you want to get to (say, the Eiffel Tower)
  • list everything that has to come together for you to get there (money, flights, bookings, luggage, time, and so on)
  • list everything that might stop you (mechanical problems, rejection of visas, theft, illness, lost luggage, Vladimir Putin’s expansionism, etc)
  • identify how you secure every single one of those things that are necessary to get there (use a reputable airline, apply early for visas, buy a suitcase with roller wheels, or whatever it might be)
  • identify how/if you can overcome each of the things that will stop you (don’t travel via unstable countries, get vaccinated, have your criminal convictions expunged so your visa application isn’t rejected, for example)
  • if there are some you simply can’t overcome, consider whether there’s an alternative destination that might suit you (Adelaide is pretty – the Paris of the Antipodes).

Now you’ve got your plan for getting to the Eiffel Tower!

In the context of your policy feasibility journey,

  • the Eiffel Tower is your best case and most ambitious policy outcome – full, speedy and enthusiastic adoption of your idea of product;
  • things that have to come together will include taking your idea to the right person, couching it in ways they will find appealing, presenting it credibly, and so on;
  • things that might stop your proposal travelling anywhere could include budgetary inflexibility, incompatible Government or Party policy, intransigent stakeholders, electoral unpopularity, opposing factions in the bureaucracy or Party, the Minister’s Chief of Staff doesn’t like you, etc – many of the hurdles to be identified in this research are critically important and all too often are glossed over by enthusiastic proponents of the project;
  • securing the necessities for your journey will include having a thoroughly well-developed proposal, an understanding of the structure and priorities of the portfolio, carefully crafted presentation that speaks to your audience, for example;
  • overcoming obstacles might include creative* financing, finding ways to secure policy change before advancing your proposal, finding a Champion for your proposal within Government, identifying clear community benefits, and many, many, more.

Assessing feasibility for a significant proposal usually require clear-headed research, and external evaluation and testing – your enthusiasm for your own proposal is guaranteed to blind you to some of the opposition, difficulties and hurdles.

 

* By which I definitely don’t mean dodgy!

The Talking Dead: What NOT To Say To Government

walking_dead_smallIf you don’t have a good understanding of Government and Opposition, it is easy to put your foot wrong and wreck your chances of a successful discussion, when you’re pressing the Government to support your project or policy proposal.

Here’s a few thoughts about the wrong thing:

  • Absolute Power – Not every Member of Parliament or public servant has the power to do everything (read more here) and if you ask for something they can’t do, then you look like a dill; for example, legislation may proscribe taking certain actions or making certain decisions – you need to know this before you ask;
  • Power Without Glory – The Doctrine of the Separation of Powers is a special and high level constraint on powers saying, amongst other things, that Ministers must not usurp the powers of the Parliament or the Courts; in Australia the Doctrine is imposed by convention*, whilst in other countries it doesn’t exist or is imposed by laws or their constitution;
  • Game of Thrones – Public servants and Members of Parliament always have limits on what they may do, imposed by where they are placed in their respective structures, will rarely be interested in interfering in something that is someone else’s role, and rarely have the capacity to do that easily;
  • CodeBreaker – All members of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary have codes prescribing how they should work; only the most courageous** amongst them will contemplate stepping outside those codes, and only those prepared to risk prison will propose they should;
  • You’re Awful, Muriel – You must start a discussion by presuming your audience knows what they are doing and why, even when you know they are entirely wrong: nothing kills your chance of a productive dialogue quicker than implying or saying directly that a Member of Parliament or public servant doesn’t know what they are talking about, or has been incompetent; you have to find a different way: you must structure the discussion so they see your alternative as better***;
  • Lie To Me – Never tell a lie, never assert anything is a fact when there’s any doubt, and never leave out anything important; Telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is your only option, to ensure credibility; telling the truth means you must be very, very sure of your facts, and keep facts entirely separate from opinions;
  • Sin Of Omission – it’s worth repeating: never leave out anything important; recognise, too, that you are not necessarily the best judge of what’s important – if there is any chance your audience might see something as important, you must at least mention it in passing;
  • Censored Man with blue tape on his mouth. Isolated on white.Rush To Judgement – Opinions from non-experts are pretty worthless, so don’t offer them unless they are considered, evidence-based expert judgements;
  • Don’t Mention The War – Public servants usually operate impartially, and Members of Parliament are experts, so don’t talk about politics unless they invite it – and even then, exercise extreme caution that you tread on no toes;
  • The Ant Bully – When you threaten or bully, explicitly or implicitly, you’re saying you lack the facts, lack a good argument, lack ethical standards and maturity, can’t be trusted to stick to a deal, and want to be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper;
  • The Guru – keep your ego in check; if too much of what you say is about you, you’re not sufficiently focussed on how your proposal benefits the Government and the public, and you will be building resistance as you build perceptions of your ego;
  • The Killing Season – don’t denigrate your opponents or competitors, because you’ll always look like a bully or slimy, egotistical or selfish, and more interested in your own advancement than in good policy.

 

* One of the biggest flaws in Australian democracy is that this doctrine is not strongly mandated by State and Federal constitutions, which allows authoritarian Governments to accrue too much power at the expense of liberty and democracy.  But that discussion is for another time!

** Courageous in the “Yes, Prime Minister” sense:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_to_the_People_(Yes,_Prime_Minister)

*** Mike Smith is incredibly grateful to then-Northern Territory Labor Leader Maggie Hickey for teaching this valuable lesson!

 

 

Persuading Government: What You Say

breakthrough-smlYou’ve finally secured that vital meeting with the right Government decision maker, the one who can make or break your project – congratulations!

What you’re asking for has to have passed a few tests before you are ready to be its advocate: it must

  • be legal,
  • be feasible,
  • remedy a problem or grasp an opportunity*

or you’re wasting your time.

When you present – in your first three minutes, first three slides or first 400 words – what you say must demonstrate

  • why your idea,
  • why not the alternative idea, and
  • why now.

Why your idea?

This isn’t about why you like it – it’s why Government should like it, and that’s entirely different – you have to understand Government priorities, processes and people.  We’ve seen many clients destroy their project by listing the virtues enthusing them, not the virtues that might attract Government support.

What compels adoption of your idea?  Which of the social and economic environment, public and political pressures, current policy failures, and so on, drive the need for it?  What will happen if your idea isn’t adopted?  How does it deliver on Government promises and values?  How does it satisfy the principles** of good policy?  What are the benefits, the State interests?  How are the community’s interests served?  How can it be afforded?  What can be done to improve prospects of success and minimise opposition?  Which credible scientists, academics, public servants, stakeholders, or economists support what you say and will be advocates?

Why not the alternative?

Don’t forget that one competing alternative is making no change, so you must be clear why things can’t stay as they are: unanticipated opportunities or problems, gaps or failings in current policy or programmes, impending doom, changes in circumstances that undermine current policy settings, political risk, and so on.

More generally, you’ll need to show that alternatives fail to satisfy or offend principles of good policy, deliver poor results, are more likely to fail, will agitate key stakeholders and cause them to campaign against the Government, are politically dangerous, offend Government values, are impractical, are too expensive … as many as possible of that sort of problem.  Again, don’t talk about your needs here, but the Government’s and community’s needs – why Government priorities and values should drive them to reject the alternatives.

head-in-the-sand-smlWhy now?

What negatives arise if action is delayed?  What advantages accrue from timely action?  What timeline gives the community and Government the best outcomes, and why?  What’s happening next year that wastes money if this idea isn’t adopted now?

Be mindful of the timing of major events, Parliamentary sittings, the election cycle, the Government’s budget, the grand final, school holidays, commencement of major policy initiatives, release dates of economic and unemployment statistics … and everything else.

Shape and Tone

Your presentation needs to tell a concise story addressing all of those things, with your idea as the heroine saving the day.  (If you haven’t read Winning the Story Wars or something similar, you should.)

The tone of your presentation is important too: make a strong factual argument, with language that is empirical and not emotive or aggressive, nor demeaning of others.

Don’t forget that you’ve got to make your case in the first three minutes, three slides or 400 words – there’s rarely a second chance, so preparation is critical.

Finally, and Always: 2 Things

Include a clear and thought-out “ask” that furthers your objective: a future meeting, someone in the Department to talk with about the issue, delegation to someone, decision-maker to investigate and respond, and so on.  Make sure you secure the opportunity to respond to future criticism of your idea by internal and external stakeholders, if that’s at all possible.

… and leave behind a one page summary, a more detailed summary, sources of more information, and contact details for credible supporters and referees for your idea, where appropriate.

 

 

* Never just go there with a problem – always have a well-developed solution, or a way to find the solution.
** Principles of good policy can vary from Government to Government: we’re preparing that article right now, and it will probably be next in this blog.

 

Strategy Needs Strategy

strategy-palette

From “Your Strategy Needs a Strategy”

There’s a new book coming out in June, called Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach.  In anticipation, one of the authors has been laying out some of the book’s core propositions in a series of LinkedIn articles.

At the heart of what they are saying is the perfectly logical proposition that different business environments should drive you to different strategic approaches.  They identify five kinds of business environment and the related strategic response:

The Environment / The Future Strategic Response
I can predict it, but I can’t change it Classical
I can’t predict it, and I can’t change it Adaptive
I can predict it, and I can change it Visionary
I can’t predict it, but I can change it Shaping
My resources are severely constrained Renewal

Articles summarising the book so far:

Martin Reeves seems to be posting a new update each week – stay tuned.

It looks like a must-buy for those who offer strategy advice, and strategy development services.

 

Lobbying is Marketing

marketing-cloud-small(… and Government Relations is PR!)

Every definition of marketing I’ve ever respected applies to lobbying – except for one tiny component* of lobbying – and I’ve become convinced that lobbying is a super-specialised kind of marketing.

The ultimate purpose of lobbying is that someone in Government (public servant or politician)  has been persuaded they should buy** something: your client’s idea, credibility, product or service.  In eleven years of lobbying I’ve never met a lobbying project aimed at anything other than that objective.

The list of things that might be done as part of a lobbying project (here) pretty much reflects the range of things I’ve seen done as part of marketing projects.

Government relations – a term sometimes used in lieu of lobbying, though it’s not quite the same thing – is a super-specialised kind of Public Relations, and is normally a major part of any lobbying effort.  It has the same purpose, brand building in support of sales, but targeted at a very specialised “public”.

Engaging with Government is pointless unless it ends in a “sale” of something, just like marketing, and just as PR without a concrete “sales” objective is a great waste of time and resources.

So, lobbying is marketing?

 

* That tiny component is face-to-face lobbying itself, which can sometimes be more about the sales job.
** Or, every once in a rare while, sell something e.g. a public asset – but via accepting your client’s policy proposition.

Queensland Premier Palaszczuk: Investing in Merit?

seesawIf you’ve ever watched the filling of Cabinet advisor jobs after an election, you would be aghast: across all political parties, narrow networks, factional partisans, warlord loyalists, mates of mates, and the staff from the previous (losing) Government of the same Party, are usually the principal sources of political advisors.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has insisted on a new way: she’s demanded competitive, merit-based* selection: the new Government has advertised senior Ministerial advisor roles via Seek**, and Ministers were initially allowed to employ a small number of temporary staff only.

One of the advantages of the usual system is speed: a Ministerial office can be up and running in a week; one of the disadvantages of merit selection plus competition is that it can’t work very fast.

How well this innovation works in the medium and long term remains to be seen, and that will be the test of the Premier’s innovation, but some of the new Ministerial offices have been struggling to respond effectively to correspondence and phone calls, until they secure more staff.

Boding well for the long term and tending to validate the new system, I’m aware of several excellent Ministerial staffing appointments that couldn’t have been made under the old patronage system.

 

* See www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/P/PublicServA08.pdf, s27 onwards ( – this link is now fixed, I trust)
** It’s reported that the new Government was swamped with 5,000 applications for the various jobs.