Online Project Showcase

Think WEL before you vote!

  • Organisation:

    Women’s Electoral Lobby (NSW)

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    50242525012

  • Scope of Activity:

    Regional

  • Geographic Location:

    New South Wales (NSW)

  • Target Groups:

    Business Professionals
    Carers
    Gay and Lesbian
    Indigenous
    Migrants
    Mothers
    Refugees
    Rural / Regional
    Singles
    Widows
    Unemployed
    Aged
    Adolescents

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Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):

    40,000

  • Current Funding (AUD):

    0

  • Funding Needed (AUD):

    40,000

  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):

    Yes

  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):

    No

  • DGR Additional Information:

    Tax deductible donations can be made to WEL via the National Foundation of Women (ABN 32 008 659 630) https://www.nfaw.org/donations

  • Other Funding Partners:

    Crowdfunding, applying to funding bodies

Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 01 Oct 2018
  • Project Completion Date:
  • 31 Mar 2019
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • An ANU 2016 federal election study reported 40% of Australians aren’t satisfied with our democracy. Only 26% trust the government. If these trends continue, our democratic system will fragment.

    A 2014 parliamentary paper found Australian women are significantly under-represented in parliament/executive government. Our international ranking continues to drop, hovering near the ‘critical mass’ of 30 % (UN’s minimum level for women influencing decision-making.)

    Women’s votes matter, as 52% of the population women can decide elections. In 2016 WEL piloted voter education sessions in south west Sydney. Women’s appetite for this education was immense. Women are doing everything that is being asked of them by the major parties, yet feel financially vulnerable, uncertain if their children will be well educated or able to find a job. WEL offered a safe place to ask questions about how the political system affects them and a process for thinking about how their vote can influence parliament.
  • Project Description:
  • Think WEL before you vote! is a grassroots democratic literacy program enabling women to use their vote effectively at elections and become active in our democracy, between elections.

    WEL’s series of free, women only, table talks will be hosted in partnership with local women’s community services in 8 marginal federal seats. 6 further table talks will target young, migrant and rural women.

    Table talk topics include changes to Senate voting, why voting below the line matters, building relationships with local MPs and working at polling booths. We also ask women ‘what is one thing the government can do to take pressure off the people you care about?’ and lobby MPs on these concerns.

    We are at the right stage of the electoral cycle to offer democratic literacy sessions, given federal + NSW elections are scheduled for early 2019. WEL will offer to train volunteers to build the capacity of partner organisations to deliver further sessions in their local community on an ongoing basis.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • The impact of women’s underrepresentation in decision making positions is evident in key policy processes such as the 2018 federal budget. WEL’s budget analysis identified limited action around housing affordability and tokenistic funding of specialist women’s refuges and domestic violence services. Women are more likely to be in low paid work therefore the flattening of the tax structure which benefits high income earners and measures to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce until age 70, both affecting women disproportionality.

    The table talks aim to rectify this by empowering women to understand why their vote is important, how to use their vote well and develop skills to communicate their concerns to their MPs. Sitting and retired federal MPs will be invited to join the table talks in their electorate, explaining (a) why they stood for parliament, (b) what they do between sitting weeks, given taxpayers fund their salaries and (c) answering questions from participants.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • This project seeks to enlarge the Australian political system which has narrowed to MPs, the media and political parties. Significant democratic institutions eg the Australian Electoral Commission + the Australian Bureau of Statistics are being underfunded. The right to protest has been significantly constrained in many states.
    Democracy education makes ‘the invisible visible’. It points out the roles women may take, as voters, community organisers or election candidates among others.
    Groups of women at risk of disengaging from voting will be invited, eg young women who are first time/new voters, newly arrived/migrant women unsure of the political system in Australia and marginalised women living in social housing.

    The project will empower women voters to communicate with their local MPs. The aggregated findings of the gatherings will be delivered to key Federal and State representatives i.e NSW Premier, Prime Minister of Australia, Minister for Women and state/federal Treasurers.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • The following comments from women who attended WEL’s pilot table talks in 2016 paint a picture of empowerment:

    “Thank you so much for today. I think I have been voting incorrectly. Now I know what to do.”
    “I am excited that I now have a voting strategy.”
    “I never knew that my taxes paid the MPs. What do they do when they are not in parliament?”

    In answer to WEL’S question “What can the government do to take pressure off your household?” one woman told us the following:
    “My partner and I are very fortunate to live in good public housing. We budget for an entire year, saving so we can pay our bills when they come in. We one of us gets sick, that’s when it’s hard to keep up with the bills. I’d like the government to increase the medicare rebate so we can have a 20 minute visit with our GP, rather than 10 minutes. We can’t sort out our health problems in 10 minutes.”

    Raising women’s voices is at the heart of WEL’s work as a 45 year old independent, non-party political, feminist lobby
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • WEL will disseminate the key learnings from the table talks via:
    interviews with local media in marginal federal electorates;
    WEL’s social media channels;
    meetings with political party media advisors;
    community radio stations, including migrant and regional radio, to alert women to the table talk opportunities and concerns WEL is hearing.
    Jenny Muir, WEL Executive Member (Media) will advise on other media strategies depending on the issues participants express. WEL definitely wants the media to amplify the table talk findings and to communicate more broadly that women are stepping up at ballot boxes to put political parties on notice.
    WEL is considering how to share the table talk format beyond NSW. We will develop a facilitator's pack with a YouTube video, for WEL members in other states and territories. This removes barriers for women in rural and regional locations outside the marginal electorates but who are less able to access informal forums for democracy education.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • Success for the project will be measured by an increase of the attendee’s:
    understanding the responsibilities of the 3 levels of government
    appreciation that women’s votes can change elections
    confidence they are voting correctly so their vote counts in both upper and lower houses
    skills and confidence to build relationships and communicate concerns with their political representatives on an ongoing basis
    ability to identify actions they can take between elections to express their concerns on issues affecting them
    feelings of empowerment as a result of understanding decision making processes impacting on them and people they care about
    ability to use the information provided in the workshop and share with networks
    Table talks will be evaluated via pre/post workshop questionnaires plus reflection comments by participants at workshop end. There will also be 6 and 12 weeks post workshop phone calls to local partners who work/have relationships with participants to measure ongoing imp

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Sandy Killick, WEL Executive Committee member

  • Email:

    sgkillick@gmail.com

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    0409 204 100