This document seeks to clarify the current structure of CountryMinded and clarify roles and responsibilities of key personnel.
There are four key lines of business for the Party.
- Administration of the Party including membership, finance, compliance and communications
- Policy development, including prioritisation, research and management.
- Campaign and candidate management including preselection and electoral funding and disclosure compliance
- Politics including advocacy and influencing in and out of office
These lines of business are heavily interconnected and cannot be dealt with in isolation, but member and stakeholder engagement will vary depending on which aspect of the business is being addressed. The National Executive is the ultimate governing body within the Party, but as the membership base grows the strategy is to facilitate the establishment of local Branches and the delegate state based functions to State Committees.
The National Executive is directly accountable to the membership. Branches will be accountable locally to members. State Committees will be accountable to Branches and the National Executive that empowers them.
Diagram 1: Proposed CountryMinded structural linkages.
The diagram explains how the proposed and existing structures within the party would interact on campaign and policy processes. Each connecting line in the diagram infers two-way communication and influence.
The objective for CountryMinded policy development is to identify and promote good policy that meets stakeholder needs rather than to seek notoriety through political expedience.
Therefore, policy development is a critical component of the Party’s platforms and it is essential that there is a robust methodology deployed. Policy development is an ongoing process. The diagram below outlines the kind of policy development framework that the Party will strive for.
Diagram 2. Policy development procedure.
In effect, the framework is concerned with providing the best model of accessing diverse stakeholder views when developing a response to a community issues. Once the policy has been developed, the Party will use the policy in its political and advocacy.
In order to develop well targeted policy we need to define the issue we are trying to address. It is essential to understand who is affected by the issue and the scope for addressing it. It is useful to consider a broad range of options, including what existing policy exists with other groups.
It is important that CountryMinded prioritise policy development by addressing problems people have, rather than taking a purely populist approach and just asking them what they want.
CountryMinded is committed to rural and regional issues and we need to focus on that segment of the electorate to whom we are already appealing, but it is important that we do not alienate the secondary market that has not yet bought into our political brand. Therefore, we need to remain committed to serving a broad group of stakeholders and not just members in our policy development.
Campaign Management and Preselection:
CountryMinded is fully committed to honouring the social contract between candidates and their electorates and in so doing will only support genuine and worthy candidates. To this end the Party may not run a candidate in every electorate or contest.
Initially, in the absence of mature branch structures, the National Executive will be responsible for most of the preselection and campaign processes at least until there are established Branches that can participate ably in the process. However, CountryMinded is committed to ensuring local satisfaction with both the preselection process and the preselection outcome.
CountryMinded’s sole purpose is to deliver better political advocacy particularly for rural and regional communities. This purpose must guide all decisions in preselection and campaign management. It is essential that the Party does not act in a manner inconsistent with its Principles.
Initially, the National Executive will implement a commercial Human Resource and Recruiting strategy around preselection to provide an objective merit based process that will stand independent scrutiny and avoid the kind of “jobs for the boys” culture that prevails elsewhere. The National Executive will appoint a Preselection Committee to manage the process for the next election and report on its recommendations.
As the Party develops and the proposed Branch and State structures are established they will naturally become more engaged in the preselection processes.
A more detailed “Branch Guide” is provided elsewhere, but the key purpose that the branch undertakes is centred on:
- Building the membership.
- Providing support to the local community.
- Providing local perspectives and feedback to the National Executive and Party policy.
- Generating donations and support for both the broader Party and the local campaign.
- Building a network of volunteers for campaign activities.
- Creating ongoing interest in the activities of the branch and Party.
- Supporting your local candidate.
The National Executive consists of up to nine members. The National Executive determines from within its own ranks who will hold key offices for the administration of the Party. The National Executive includes:
- Pete Mailler - National President (Goondiwindi)
- Charles Nason - National Vice President (Roma)
- Methuen Morgan - National Treasurer (Armidale)
- Rob Atkinson (Hughenden)
- Sherrill Stivano (Roma)
- Chris Buckman (Tamworth)
- David Mailler - Secretary (Uralla)
- Andrew Richardson (Roma)
The main responsibility of the National Executive is to manage the Party from an administrative perspective and in compliance with its constitution and the various regulatory jurisdictions it is subject to.
While the Party works towards registration and is generally under resourced to undertake regular and comprehensive consultation, the National Executive acts in consideration with the Principles of the Party as defined in the Constitution. These Principles provide the necessary context for the Party and its actions.
The entire effort of the Party is currently deployed on a voluntary basis. There is considerable work to do and scope for a broad range of skillsets to be well utilised.
There are no employees per se at this time. For the foreseeable future the Party will rely heavily on volunteers for key roles.
The National Executive is ultimately responsible for the administration and compliance of the Party. It is essential now that the National Executive engages a broader support base as the administrative work load increases with a more engaged and expectant membership.
There are several administrative functions that can be defined, grouped and prioritised to facilitate the deployment of volunteer services to greatest effect.
- Prepare regular Party newsletters
- Membership recruitment
- Member database maintenance
- Political and community database development and liaison
- Develop media contact lists and cultivate relationships
- Prepare and distribute media releases
- Social media content development
- Social media network managers
- IT support and web site design
- CRM database manager
- Local meeting coordinators
- Branch development liaison
- Policy research
- HR expertise
- Campaign management staff
- Candidate recruitment
- Financial controller
- AEC compliance
- Fundraising and sponsorship
- Party promotions and major event management
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Secretarial support for the Executive
This list of functions is not exhaustive, but provides some insight into the kind of roles that can and need to be undertaken. In order to provide confidence and consistency in service delivery these roles need to be better defined and volunteers need to be inducted with a clear commitment to confidentiality and the Party Principles.