Why There Are Plenty Of Tips For Marketeers On The Election Frontline Hustings

Why There Are Plenty Of Tips For Marketeers On The Election Frontline Hustings


Teresa Russell (lead image) is working on the front line to get Teal independent Elizabeth Farrelly elected to the NSW Upper House at next Saturday’s NSW State election. Here she regales her grassroots marketing tips and some hissing non-believers along the way…

Since I started campaigning for Elizabeth Farrelly Independents in the NSW Upper House, people everywhere have asked how it’s going – and most importantly, ‘is Elizabeth actually going to win?’

Although last weekend, while I was canvassing at the markets, one elderly woman didn’t ask a question, but leant in and hissed, ‘I hope she burns in Hell!’

I wondered: which of Elizabeth’s columns on poor planning, unfair laws, backroom deals, jobs for the boys, or the climate emergency that looks like ensuring most of us end up burning in hellish conditions, could elicit such venom? But the woman had already scuttled away.

Knowing how we’re going – much less if we’ll win – are questions just as unanswerable. There’s no public polling for the NSW Upper House, the Legislative Council. Although Federal Senators such as Lidia Thorpe, Malcolm Roberts (elected by 71 people) or Ralph Babet (with 4425 votes, 331 more than Bridget McKenzie) are constantly reported on, it’s striking how few people can actually name a single NSW Upper House member, or even know NSW has an Upper House.

As you say in marketing land, any publicity is good publicity. When The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair wrote a sniping article about Elizabeth – also citing my last B&T op ed, natch – we figured the Libs might be a bit worried, given he also wrote about another popular Independent with a good chance of taking a Lib seat.

But as I’ve discovered when I’m out and about, most voters don’t even know there’s an election. The second most asked question I get is ‘it’s not today, is it?’ It reflects a wide disengagement from politics – and given the “choice” we’re being given, who could blame ‘em?

Because they don’t even know the Legislative Council exists, most voters don’t understand what it does – reviewing and amending all Government legislation – or that a vote on that long table runner ballot elects representatives representing ALL NSW, not just particular electorates.

That’s why we call it the ‘Upper House’ in all our comms. And why we explain that, if we’re elected to the Upper House, we’ll work across the aisle to make good legislation better and try to stop bad legislation from becoming law to ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone in NSW, wherever you are, whoever you are.

We’re campaigning on a platform of ‘Liveable Communities, Climate Action, Honest and Government’ – but whatever the issue or the legislation, we’ll always consider it on its merits, not the politics, ethically, transparently and consultatively.

Although some wanted us to get out hard and early, we kept our powder dry on media and advertising. With over 25 per cent of voters undecided up to Election Day (25 March, just in case you forgot), we’ve seen how media engagement has ramped up in the past week or so, along with a big ad spend targeting our key demographics on FM radio, independent cinemas, OOH locations in key electorates, and in favoured press – including the Sydney Morning Herald, which has studiously ignored us in its News section, while taking over ten grand for a half page in this weekend’s Spectrum.

If the position on the table runner matters, we’ve drawn Group H, right in the middle – where we are, politically, too. We’d like to think voting #1 above the line for Elizabeth Farrelly Independents is a vote for hope (#VoteHforHope). One Nation is Q (!) and, ironically, two far right conservative groups are on the far left of the ballot.

But there is hope. A Labor campaign worker sidled up to me and whispered, ‘I’m definitely voting for Elizabeth in the Upper House.’ It’s just one vote, of course, but it suggests change is coming.


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