With so much on the line at the next federal election – which could happen as soon as August next year – the Greens need to be as prepared as possible. So in the midst of a pandemic, we recently gathered online to secure our policy positions in a special national conference.
By Willisa Hogarth
This global pandemic has limited the way a lot of us are living at the moment, especially down here in Melbourne. Restricted exercise times and city-wide curfews can make an activist feel very trapped indeed. However, with any obstacle comes opportunity, and at the special National Conference last month, we certainly took up those opportunities.
The AG-PCC, our internal policy committee, is currently gearing up to secure our policy documents in time for the next federal election. This could happen as soon as August 2021 so its very important that this enormous task is an active priority for all member bodies. Without the ability to meet up face-to-face to undertake the negotiations we normally would in a conference setting was pretty challenging at our May conference, so we knew that we had to take a different approach this time around.
The AG-PCC team and the national office bearers undertook a two-week schedule of workshops for all 15 policies to be negotiated at the August conference. The policies were broken down into six categories and two workshops ran three nights a week for the two weeks prior to the conference. Whilst it was quite a bit of short notice, it was fantastic to see our delegates from around the country engage in this process as much as possible. This allowed us to get a lot of the wordsmithing done in each document in a much more collaborative, less time-pressured way. The guidance from some brilliant AG-PCC members recording the recommendations of each workshop made the conference equally as smooth.
The weekend of the conference was exceptionally well attended given the online space. Once again, each policy was broken up into the six different categories and further workshops were conducted across the two days to ensure that each proposed change was considered and approved. For the most part, the weekend ran smoothly and as close to time as possible. Some workshops were even finished early allowing for extra break times across the day.
The opportunity to be able to spend so much time together working through these highly important documents is a luxury that we don’t get in a face-to-face environment. By utilising the technology we have available to use, I truly believe we have conducted the most grassroots based process so far. And with another tranche due to be reviewed very soon, we are looking at ways to allow even more opportunities for involvement from all members.
I want to say a huge thank you to the members of AG-PCC for all their hard work, the office-bearers for giving up so much of their time, and all the member body delegates and observers for making our policy process so rich and fulfilling. We should be exceptionally proud!
Willisa Hogarth is an Australian Greens National Co-Convenor.
Hero image: Gillianne Tedder