Making the most of Winter Recesses

Using this time to connect with policy-makers without the pressure of parliamentary proceedings.

The middle of the year is when parliaments around Australia break for the winter recess.

While some use the time to refine strategies or plan for the second half of the year, it's important to see the winter break as another opportunity to engage. The parliamentary break can be the perfect time to roll out strategies to reach your targets without the pressure of parliamentary proceedings.

And for the most part, it's an opportunity to meet with MPs and staffers without the next person waiting in the hallway for their allotted fifteen minutes.

Here's four tips to make the most of the winter break:

1. Visit MPs in their electorate

Members are very used to having organisations make appointments to visit them in their parliamentary office. They know you're there to see them and likely a number of their colleagues. They understand they're just the next cab off the rank in your schedule of handshakes and hard lines. Taking the opportunity to visit MPs on their own turf sends a completely different message. It shows what you have to say is important enough to travel to see them. It indicates that as an individual Member, they are valued by your organisation. It also conveys a much stronger message that what you have to say is relevant to them.

2. Invite MPs to tour your facilities

With Parliament not sitting, it's a great time to invite Ministers, Committees and even individual Members to tour your offices or facilities. Arranging an onsite visit provides an outstanding opportunity to bring your primary issues to life. The best visits are carefully structured with a central advocacy goal, so taking the time to plan your site visit in detail is paramount. You can read more on how to make your visits a hit here.

3. Have a bite with Canberra-based staff

Some Ministerial staff are required to travel with their Ministers during the winter break, while others choose to take personal leave and jet off to warmer climates. However, there's usually fair number of Ministerial staffers shivering the winter away in the nation's or state capital. This is a good opportunity to hold a lunch or dinner event for a handful of relevant staff. Without the pressure of their boss being in town, they'll be more available to meet over a meal, making it the perfect opportunity to discuss your issues in a more informal setting.

4. Invite your stakeholders to a game

Our nation is awash with sporting events during winter, particularly of the oval-shaped ball variety. With parliament on hiatus for an extended period, Ministers, MPs and their staff are far more willing to accept an invitation to a footy match or other such event. The relatively small expense of hiring a corporate box at the MCG or ANZ Stadium and inviting relevant political patrons along is worth the invaluable opportunity for some informal advocacy.

Looking to boost your government and stakeholder engagement over the winter break? Advoc8's government relations software comes with political intelligence like MP interests and sporting teams. Reach out for a demo today.

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