Make a Difference: A Practical Guide to Lobbying

Make a Difference: A Practical Guide to Lobbying

Guy Barnett, Connor Court

Former senator Guy Barnett is an ideal person to write a “how to” manual on lobbying Australian governments. He’s done it professionally (as a lawyer, operating out of Melbourne and Washington DC, and later running a government and public affairs business based in Hobart and Canberra).

And as a Federal Liberal senator he was on the “receiving end” of others’ lobbying efforts.

Although Guy Barnett has conservative views on some moral/ethical issues (Wikipedia notes that he has conservative stances on stem cell research and embryo cloning, in vitro fertilisation, abortion, and gay rights, and opposed the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tasmania), this little manual is quite an excellent handbook, offering an unbiased summary of the history, workings, and ideologies of the various Australian political parties.

And he’s upfront about the kinds of people we elect to public office.

Two examples:

* “Remember, members of parliament are nearly always busy (or, if not, wish the general public to have this perception)”;

* “All members of parliament have well-developed egos. Never leave them with a feeling they are unimportant but rather that they have got what it takes to achieve success for you.”

In 140 pages there’s everything you need to know about how Australian parliaments work and how to maximise your opportunities to influence politicians to act for your cause.

He cites grassroots people effecting change (as Jacqui Fishwick did when she organised to put the words of our national anthem on to milk cartons) and also how those “within the system” can do likewise (for example, Wilberforce and slavery, “one of the most notable public lobbying campaigns in history”).

As a lobbyist myself (for justice for Dawn Rowan:, this reviewer learned a few tricks here which might have produced a more effective campaign: though it’s amazing how much of this broad process is intuitive.

Rowland Croucher



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