Sue Barrett – A Teal test of character in Goldstein

May 19, 2022
Zoe Daniel campaign poster at early voting centre, Goldstein electorate
The will and determination of the people involved to see this through is unstoppable. Image:AAP/James Ross

There is nothing like leading and working on a political campaign to test one’s character.

In early November 2021, I accepted the offer of becoming Zoe Daniel’s campaign manager for the seat of Goldstein at the 2022 Federal Election.

I didn’t accept the offer lightly. Truth is I have never run a political campaign of any kind before, but when I thought about it, a political campaign is the ultimate example of an on-the-ground human-to-human sales led campaign and I have helped run many successful sales led campaigns before so I accepted this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And boy has it been the ride of my life. It is intense, exhilarating, energising and, at times, exhausting.

Being there from the start when we formed the community group Voices of Goldstein in October 2020 and realised there was an untapped sea of people wanting real change – real action on climate, integrity, equality, shared prosperity and better politics- to selecting a community-backed independent candidate in October 2021, to starting a full-on political campaign with a handful of people in early November 2021, to now leading a 1,200 strong organisation of volunteers in less than 6 months is quite the test of character for all concerned.

Campaign systems, resourcing, funding, team structures, roles and responsibilities, and a code of conduct all had to be developed from scratch pretty much, however we didn’t have to do it alone because we also had the legacy and support of Cathy McGowan, who paved the way for the community-backed Independent model.

In that time, we have created a campaign leadership team, operations and on-the-ground teams, a fundraising team, policies, website, campaign and media strategy, branding and messaging, marketing, advertising and social media campaigns,  marketing materials and merchandising, learning and IT systems, events and community activity schedules including street meets, leafletting, door knocking, phone banking, community QandA events, summits, Zoe walks and bike rides, Zoe dog walks, a Team Zoe choir, the list is long, as well as raise $1.3M+, most of which has come from our community to fund this campaign and give us a real chance of winning.

It’s been a full-on, 7-day a week operation.

The things that really stand out for me here is the purposefulness, focus, determination and unity of the all the people involved – people who come from all walks of life and political stripes. What unifies us is our desire for integrity and human decency; our desire for real climate action and a renewable energy economy, equality for women and integrity in politics, a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren, and a fairer system that delivers across the board for the common good.

We are united in our desire for wholesale change in politics that we know can be done better.

We are united in creating a better more prosperous future for our community and this country.

The will and determination of the people involved to see this through is unstoppable.

If we’re talking engagement – we have this in spades. What any organisation wouldn’t give to have this level of engagement.

I’m inspired by the saying “Nothing beats organised money like organised people.

This experience is galvanising for the many thousands of people who have felt ignored, marginalised and taken for granted by party politics and vested interests who have treated us with disdain for so long. We knew something had to change and we knew back in October 2020 it was up to us, the people, to make this happen. No more screaming at the TV or radio. If we wanted to change politics and democracy in this country then we knew we had better step up and do just that. This is true democracy in action.

Despite the enormity of our task –to change a safe blue ribbon Liberal seat held since 1901* to a community backed independent seat- what I have seen from our campaign team and our teal sea of volunteers is strength of character in abundance. Everyone has everyone’s back. Nothing is too much trouble. No one shirks their responsibilities. Instead we keep on stepping up in greater numbers every day and accepting the challenge.

Unlike our competition who have chosen the path of disinformation, lies and propaganda, gaslighting us all the way to the ballot box, we have chosen to aim high and be the future we want to see. It is so easy to be drawn into their filth and negativity which tests our character every day.

Instead, we have chosen to run our own race and present a better alternative, a legitimate choice, a better way of doing politics to deliver a better, more hopeful and prosperous future for all.

Regardless of what happens on 21st May 2022, I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time, especially as most of us were strangers to each other when we started. Through this coming together of people is a rejuvenation of community with life-long friendships formed and we don’t want what we have created to stop. This is just the start!

This is people power in action.  

This is what community really is – people who care for each other and our collective future.

With only 8 days to go until we know the results of our collective efforts, we are giving it everything we’ve got for all the right reasons.

We are in this to win!

Whatever happens, this has indeed been the ride of our lives and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all.

It has tested our characters, and the more we’ve been tested the stronger we have become.

Our resolve is resolute.

We have come out stronger and better for having been through this together as individuals and as a community.

So, let’s see if we have done enough to make history in 2022.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Remember, everybody lives by selling something.

*If Goldstein falls to an independent it will be the first time the Liberal Party has not held the seat, or its predecessor Balaclava, since 1901

 

Sue Barrett is an ethical and sustainable Business Growth Strategist, Sales Systems Specialist, Educator, Writer and Change Agent. She is an advocate for Better Business Practices, Integrity, Gender Equality and Climate Action. She is also Zoe Daniel’s Campaign Manager in Goldstein.

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