By Simonne Pengelly
There’s nothing quite like a by-election in the middle of a pandemic and following close on the heels of a bushfire disaster to remind us all of the complexities of modern campaigning and that, these days, the election cycle never really stops.
Members of the Administrative Committee welcomed the comprehensive report on the successful Eden-Monaro by-election provided by Party Officers. The report provided further insight into the background factors influencing the by-election, including the geographic and socioeconomic makeup of the electorate and impact of 2020’s ongoing disasters.
It was acknowledged that one of Labor’s campaigning strengths is our ability to engage in genuine people-focused on-the-ground discussions – something a little hard to do at a distance. This saw a necessary and interesting shift in campaigning strategies – moving contact from our usual doorknocking and street stalls to phone banking, focused social media engagements, and direct mail. Some of these were newer or developing campaign approaches, still to be further refined and tested in the field. However, what was universally acknowledged was that the quality of our candidate, Kristy McBain (now MP!), played a vital role in the campaign’s success.
Selecting candidates is an important role we all play as rank-and-file members of the NSWALP. Endorsing those candidates is one of the most important roles of the Administrative Committee. Even in this incredibly complex environment, we should keep in mind that (according to the Parliamentary Library) the next election could be as early as 7 August, 2021, and we will need funds, candidates, commitment and, most importantly, unity.