Interview: True Matilda
Politics: State of Play
Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Unions: Rhodes Scholars
National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
International: People Power
Economics: A Bit Rich
History: Mine Shafts
Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Organising: Building a Wave
Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Culture: The Word On The Street
The Locker Room
Co-operating At All Costs
All Good Except You
Rennovating the Lodge
Do you want to drive a political stake into the part of John Howard's body where most people have a heart? Come and get the pointy wood and mallet off the ACTU Election website and get on the phones and talk to our members.
Anecdotal evidence from unions and public polling suggests that a very high proportion of union members are undecided or swinging voters.
The last general election was decided by only 7,000 voters in the key marginals. At the election before that 3,500 voters in the marginals determined the final result.
So this Federal Election campaign the ACTU and many unions are targeting contact with union members in marginal seats as an election priority. There are approximately 17,000 union members in each marginal seat. If you count union households it's closer to 30,000 voters.
Talking to our members
The ACTU's Chris Walton, who is coordinating a Member Contact program, says the challenge is to cut through the cynicism and to get union members thinking about issues that impact on them directly.
'This involves phoning members, listening and identifying their main issue and then forwarding them further information,' he says.
'In this election there is an air war - the electioneering from above through advertising and TV. Then there is the ground war in the marginal electorates. This is what wins elections.'
'It was on this terrain that the Liberals won the last two elections. But we should be killing them on this ground when we have an army of organisers, delegates and members with the capacity for direct contact with the public.'
The ACTU has produced a series of Federal Election Union Marginal Seat Kits to aid this type of union campaigning during the election.
Workplace Kit one outlines the techniques of member phoning. The second emphasises workplace campaigning and the third direct mail.
'When we are phoning members we are getting 90% of respondents agreeing to participate because we have a direct relationship with them. Members welcome the call. They're rapt to hear from the union and they confirm that the burning issues out there are health and education and work,' says Chris Walton.
'On average 24% are swinging voters which provide us with an opportunity to make a difference.'
The ACTU Federal Election Union Marginal Seat Kit kits are available from:
03 9664 7359
03 9664 7362
Online Election Resources
The ACTU has set up an election website that will serve as a resource centre for any unionist and activist who would like to see regime change in Australia in the coming election.
Among many other things you will find fact sheets on Work, Education, Health, and Work and Family that can be downloaded off the site for distribution and discussion.
The site contains a tools and resources area with a good quality leaflets, posters, stickers, postcards and facts sheets from unions that have experience and credibility on issues that are pivotal in this election particularly education and health.
There is also background information for those who like to know all the nitty gritty on the big issues, the latest election news in the union movement and valuable links to other election sites.
In the next week or so we'll also be starting up a Target Talkback with some ideas about how to get union issues on the airwaves and some direct emails with sharp questions to be sent to the pollies.
ACTU Election Hotline and Childcare Phone-in
The ACTU has also launched an Election Hotline on 1300 362 223. This phone poll will hear union members' views on the critical issues affecting working people and their families. The ACTU call centre is also conducting a Childcare Phone-in 1300 362 223 - to gauge public opinion on the key childcare issues resonating in the community.
For More Information
For more information about getting involved in the Member Contact program or about general election information contact the State Union Coordinators:
ACTU - Noel Hester 03 96647327 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Walton 03 96647362 email@example.com
VIC - Chris Clarke 0407 307 007 firstname.lastname@example.org
NSW- Mark Lennon 02 92641691 email@example.com
QLD-Chris Barrett 07 38462468 firstname.lastname@example.org
WA-Jim Mellor 08 9228 5904 email@example.com
SA-Janet Giles 08 82123155 firstname.lastname@example.org
TAS -Lynne Fitzgerald 03 62349553 email@example.com
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