3 ways to work with clients after a Federal Election

By Natanael Bloch (pictured), Group Account Director

While the count is not over in several seats, Labor has been successful in Australia’s Federal Election and will form a Government. Though some questions are still to be addressed in the coming days (Liberal leadership, Ministerial appointments, etc.), the work for communications and public affairs professionals has already begun.

Here are three key areas industry professionals can start to work on now - in the days immediately after the Australian election results.

1. Inform your clients (short-term)

We probably don’t realise how deeply aware we and our professional counterparts (media, agencies etc) are of the political landscape. When it comes to sharing this information with our clients, we need to address case-by-case, what they need to know. Take location into account too - teams with clients whose headquarters (and sometimes direct clients) are based in New Zealand and / or APAC cities (Singapore, Hong Kong etc), may also benefit from the announcements.

Start with a one-page document, highlighting the key takeaways and learnings from the result. This can be updated as new information is released such as the make-up of the new Government and retirement announcements after the defeat.

For some clients, this information could be considered as a simple FYI but for others, it will be the first and / or only external update they receive.

2. Propose key recommendations: “quick wins” and first liaison with MPs (short to mid-term)

Besides the general information, there are some recommendations and actions that are easy to implement, and leverage on behalf of your clients:

  • Letters of congratulations for victorious MPs

  • A mapping program for the next couple of months

  • Proposal of meetings with the local Federal MPs and their teams

If there is a key announcement your client is working on, this is also the opportunity to remind MPs what it is about. After an election, there is always a “period of grace” that communications and public affairs professionals will benefit from. If the MP is re-elected, this is an opportunity to remind them of the work your client has done on a specific topic. It also emphasises that you would like to maintain a good working relationship. On the other hand, if the MP is a newly elected one, this is an opportunity to introduce topics that matter to your client.

Either way, getting in touch quickly with MPs can position clients as an important voice and a source of authority in the long term.

3. Anticipate and plan strategies (short to long-term)

The days after the election result are full of unknowns and uncertainty. This is a tremendous opportunity to map out scenarios and propose some prospective recommendations for clients. What new policies will be carried out by a Labor government? How will it impact your clients and their key sectors? What influence will the new Independent MPs have on the Australian political landscape? Who will be the five key MPs to defend your client’s interests? The list goes on...

Australian elections create new opportunities for public debate and have the potential to establish lasting relationships with policymakers and opinion leaders. This is also a good time to check in on (and potentially reshape) your public affairs plan - from the initial situation analysis through to the key messages and objectives.

This is week one of the 47th Parliament of Australia. This is also week one for communication professionals to adapt their public affairs program for their clients.

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