Money & Career

How To Run For Office In Australia

Your country needs you

If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into the world or politics, or wondering how to run for office in Australia, look no further. 

Below, the ultimate guide for political candidates who want to learn how to run for office at the state or local level.

1. Join A Community And Find Your Passion Organisation 

Whether you want to over haul maternity Dip your toes in the political waters by first leave policy or simply get more pedestrian joining a community group that aligns with crossings in your neighbourhood, identify your values. The Greens’ Ellen Sandell what motivates you politically. For
trained as a scientist but, she says, “As I learnt more and more about the challenges that was fairer policies for working
like climate change and habitat destruction, Australians. I realised that the scientists are telling us what needs to happen, but it’s the political decisions that are getting in the way.” Sandell joined the Australian Youth Climate Coalition before entering parliament.

2. Find Your Passion

Whether you want to overhaul maternity leave or simply get more pedestrian crossings in your neighbourhood, identify what motivates you politically. For Liverpool councilor Charishma Kaliyanda, that was fairer policies for working Australians. “I didn’t just want to sit back and criticise decisions or policies I didn’t agree with, she says. “I wanted to have a voice and participate.” Hawkesbury City Councellor Sarah Richards concurs and keeps a notebook on hand at all times – both to record what she wants to achieve politically and also to remind herself of her goals. “It can be difficult to stay true to your vision when you know your views are in the minority,” she says. “But you have to remember why you’re passionate’

From left to right: Jacinta Price, Sarah Richards, Tina Ayyad and Jane Hume (Credit: Peter Brew-Bevan)

3. Join Your Local Party Branch

NSW Labor assistant secretary Rose Jackson was outraged by the Howard government’s treatment of students during her university days, so she joined her local Labor branch and has never looked back. “Joining the party gave me connections,
a platform and a voice.” And, she says, nothing motivates like being surrounded
by like-minded people. “Trying to be active in politics alone is boring and is much more likely to result in burnout. Reach out to other women. Be a part of something bigger”

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Liberal senator for Victoria Jane Hume was an investment banker for 20 years before joining the Senate. While she says her former career put her in good stead for policymaking, the political process itself has been “bewildering” at times. “Never be afraid to put up your hand and ask a question,” she says. “Politics can be complex. Ask the question.”

5. Lean On Your Support Network

This might seem off topic, but almost all of the politicians we interviewed spoke of their partners as their biggest supporters. MP Jo Haylen called her husband, Garth Williams, “the most solid force in my life”, and says she can’t imagine juggling politics and family without him.

RELATED: Meet Australia’s Rising Female Politicians

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