As we near polling day on 18 May, how much do you know about the position of your local candidates on the issues of importance to agriculture? Australians Farmers explains how to find out!
There are a number of ways in which you can engage with candidates. You can write a letter, email, call, reach out via social media, request a meeting, or organise and event.
Whichever method you use, it’s important to be informed and not to be afraid to ask the tough questions.
Tip 1: Find your local candidates
Identify your electorate and local candidates via the Australian Electoral Commission website.
Tip 2: Do your homework
Before engaging with your local candidates, conduct a brief research of their party, whether they are a safe or marginal seat, their biography, and their policy stance.
A good place to start is on their personal websites. Their social media accounts are also a great forum to track your candidate’s position on issues important to agriculture.
Importantly, take a look at the National Farmers’ Federation’s Agriculture: Growing Australia Election Priorities document to find about what the NFF has determined as important this election. For example, the NFF’s top 5 election asks include:
- The fast-tracked ratification of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
- The establishment of a $1 billion Ecosystem Services Fund.
- Action on the Regional Telecommunications Review and fund the Mobile Blackspots Program.
- A commitment to act on agriculture’s labour shortage.
- Teh creation of an internationally-competitive tax system for Australa
The National Farmers’ Federation has a goal to reach $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030 and the 2019 Federal Election is a pivotal time for Australian agriculture to lay the foundations needed for growth.
Check out AustralianFarmers and the NFF’s website for more news stories and media releases on the NFF’s election asks and how agriculture is tracking towards its $100 billion goal.
Tip 3: Contacting your local candidates
Writing a letter or email:
The contact details of candidates are available here on the Australian Electoral Commission’s website.
Sending a letter to each local candidate which asks for a response to your queries is a highly effective way of communicating.
Also consider writing a ‘Letter to the Editor’ of your local newspaper. This will engage a wide audience and encourage conversation about agricultural topics that concern your community.
When writing, make sure to include an “ask” – a demand for change or action – and be clear in what action you want your local candidates to take. Consider including a personalised experience to communicate why change will impact you and/or your community.
Our top tip for contacting your local candidate: be brief and polite.
A direct and polite phone call to the candidate’s office can show personal concern for the agricultural sector and the policies affecting it. Encourage your friends and community members to follow suit, reinforcing your message.
Calling a talk-back radio station is another effective method to engage your local candidates. Conveying your message in a concise and articulate manner on talk-back radio can be a powerful tool in engaging a wider audience and directly delivering your massage.
Social media is a quick and informal way of attracting your local candidates’ attention.
The best channels to use are Facebook and Twitter. Following your local candidates on social media is a great way to track what they are saying on certain topics and to engage in online conversations.
Invite local candidates to an event or meeting:
A good way to get to know your local candidates and where they stand on the issues that matter to agriculture is to invite them to attend a community meeting or event. It also shows the candidates that there is support for your cause.
Talk to your Chamber of Commerce or Community Action Group about a “Meet the Candidates” night or about inviting them to local events. This gives the community access to their candidates and an opportunity to raise important issues.
Tip 4: Stay in touch
After contacting your local candidates, follow up with an email or a phone call to their office.
Don’t give up if you don’t reach your goal immediately. Persist and encourage others to follow the same steps you have – the more noise the better.