The ‘first 100 days’ comes from when Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd US President, was elected to power and he and his government made a phenomenal amount of change in a very short time including passing 76 pieces of legislation. For more see Why Do We Care About the First 100 Days? (David Roos, How Stuff Works, 26.4.2021).
Gough Whitlam had a similar drive to implement a progressive agenda, making major reforms early in his first term of government. Unfortunately, besides Roosevelt and Whitlam, most governments are more tentative and civil society has to keep pushing for positive changes.
The resources in this article have been gathered after the Australian federal election (May 2022) to help you and your organisation make the most of the first 100 days:
- Develop a 100 Day Plan
- Research your Relevant Ministers or Local Members of Parliament
- Meet with your Members of Parliament
- Make Clear Asks
- Frame the Issue and Spread the Message
- Engage your Supporters and Demonstrate Concern
Develop a 100 Day Plan
Prior to the 2022 federal election Neil Pharoah made the case that social purpose organisations should have a 100 day plan just like any incoming government will have. Even if the 100 days are underway you can still learn from his article The Time to do your 100 day Plan is now (Pro Bono Australia, Sept 2021). Tips include:
- Map your stakeholders
- Define your strategy, eg are you chasing:
- a mix of the above
- Refine the messaging
- Identify your capacity
- Understanding and Assessing Your Organization’s Strategic Capacity [Webinar], PowerLabs
- Spectrum of Allies
- How to cut the issue into bite sized chunks
- Build People Power and Capacity to Run Effective Campaigns and Movements to Tackle the Climate Crisis, 350.org
- Campaign Accelerator Toolkit, Mobilisation Lab
Research your Relevant Ministers or Local Members of Parliament
After an election there’s shifts that need to be adjusted to: new MPs in different seats, new Ministers, new dynamics between different players.
- To find out the Member of Parliament for each electorate (along with federal election data and electorate description) visit ABC News Election A-Z. To find contact details for MPs see the Parliament of Australia website (please note the list still include MPs who were voted out).
- To identify the MPs who may be key stakeholders on your issues view the Albanese Ministry List and Dutton Shadow Ministry List (June 2022).
You can learn more about MPs through these online tools:
- Member’s First Speeches (yet to be updated), Australian Parliamentary Website
- Set up keyword alerts to monitor an MP using tools such as Google Alerts or other alternatives.
- OpenAustralia.org also allows you to set up email alerts about certain keywords and/or people and organisations. It is a non-partisan website run by a charity, the OpenAustralia Foundation and volunteers. It aims to make it easy for people to keep tabs on their representatives in Parliament.
- Find out how an MP has voted by looking at their website, such as My Voting Record – Zali Steggall, Federal Member for Warringah, or use the website They Vote for You which helps you easily find out what members of parliament have voted for and against. The website was built by the OpenAustralia Foundation, an independent, non-partisan not-for-profit.
Put yourself in the shoes of a new politician with this US article: Navigating the first 100 days: Lessons from former US cabinet members, McKinsey and Company, 14.1.2021. It’s a very busy time for elected leaders and some of the things they are doing are:
- solidifying their purpose and mission
- understanding different contexts
- establishing important relationships
- assembling the right team
- taking action while mitigating risk
- determining how decision making is made
- discovering what resources are available
- building their knowledge
Meet with your Members of Parliament
Here are some useful tips by the Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) on things to think about before, during and after the meeting. For the tips in text rather than the following graphics access the full article: Tips for meeting MPs (or asking your members to).
- How to contact Australian Members of Parliament
- Working with your elected representatives
- How to get your local MP to listen to your community: ACF Community Toolkit
Make Clear Asks
Put your issue on the agenda with clear policy and specific demands. Build an expectation of ambition rather than settling for crumbs!
Understand the policy making process and how you can intervene with these resources:
- Participatory Policy Making, CIVICUS
- Tips for Policy Writing, For Purpose
- How to Write a Powerful Submission to Government – in as little as 10 minutes!
- Lobbying and Advocacy: Start Here
Frame the Issue and Spread the Message
The first 100 days is the perfect time to get your message out there, repeated in the public and media, and hopefully being adopted by those in power. In an ideal world you would already have developed your narrative but if that’s a work in progress check out:
- Campaign Research 101
- Change the Narrative and Frame Issues for Social Change Impact – messaging guides on a wide range of issues.
Plus these practical guides for engaging with the media:
- How to call talkback radio, Australian Conservation Foundation
- How to do a great media interview, Australian Conservation Foundation
- How to create a media package, Australian Conservation Foundation
- Social Change Radio Directory, Commons Library
Engage your Supporters and Demonstrate Concern
Show politicians that people are prepared to take action on the issues they care about. Don’t go quiet and ‘wait and see’ what positions they’ll take – be active in shaping them!
Daniel Hunter, in his book Strategy and Soul (p 184), has a useful metaphor for this time.
Politicians are like a balloon tied to a rock. If we swat at them, they may sway to the left or the right. But, tied down, they can only go so far. Instead of batting at them, we should move the rock: people’s activated social values. When we move the rock, it automatically pulls all the politicians towards us — without having to pressure each one separately.
Find out more about this concept in Moving the rock: Shifting power for sustained change and Time to Move the Rock.
There are many different tactics you can use, from petitions to nonviolent direct action. Running a petition won’t ‘move the rock’ but it might help you build a base that does.
- How to get more petition signatures, Action Station
- How to present a petition to Parliament, Action Station
- How to present a petition, Australian Parliamentary website
Protests and Rallies
- Organising Your First Protest
- Make Change: How-To’s for Effective Peaceful Protest
- Tactics in a time of physical distancing: Examples from around the world
- Government - Members of Parliament MP
- Government - Members of Parliament MP - Meeting
- Political participation