Our source is an authority on this subject, having been on both sides of the fence – as both the recipient of lobbying and as a lobbyist.

• Know what you stand for. Be clear on your messages and tailor them to “the man on the street”. Don’t speak with 20 tongues.

• Be realistic and know what your bottom line is when lobbying for a particular outcome. Any lobbyist who pushes for 100 per cent success is going to fail.

• Understand your target and what they want. Put yourself in the Minister’s shoes and aim for a win-win.

• A good lobbying campaign is as disciplined and strategic as an effective political campaign.

• Know when to be proactive and when to be reactive – when to use the media and when to work covertly.

• Don’t bring problems to the Minister or bureaucrat, bring solutions. Know the difference between being a successful lobbyist and a nuisance.

• If representing multiple, competing interests, make sure you have a consensus position before your meeting.

• Don’t be the boy who cries wolf. If you are always crying catastrophe, it will be difficult to make an impact when the big catastrophe strikes.

• It’s been said that the definition of a successful  lobbyist is someone who can get their piece of paper on top of the target’s in tray without annoying anyone.

• Identify champions within government who can lobby on your behalf.

• Aim to capture the advisory channels as well as the political channels. Know who are the relevant officers in the relevant departments and how they are briefing on your issue.

• External endorsements can be very effective.

• The Opposition can be used to raise your issue.

• Build up an evidence base, eg through putting reports to Government.

• Know the timing of the decision-making processes for eg when Ministers consider budget and when the Expenditure Review Committee meets.

• When Governments don’t provide much detail, as happened with some of the recent Federal Budget announcements, this is an opportunity for lobby groups to fill in the gaps, to their advantage.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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