GetUp activists are among many groups campaigning for votes in the 2019 Australian election. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian
About one out of every 20 householders opens their front door in their pyjamas, Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner Maggie McKeown has learned after door-knocking in key federal seats in Queensland every weekend for the past six weeks.
The foundation is just one organisation trying to get voters’ attention before the election on 18 May.
These election interest groups are favouring a mix of old-school campaign tactics such as door-knocking, billboards, community forums and traditional advertising, as well as highly produced social media campaigns, videos and hashtags.
McKeown has been up in Mackay in Coalition backbencher George Christensen’s seat of Dawson chatting to voters about the controversial Adani mine project and climate change.
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She says one-on-one conversations can be effective in changing hearts and minds.
“We went to this one household and there were three jet skis, two big cars and when they opened the door the man said he was a coalminer and we were wasting our time,” McKeown told the Guardian. “We started a conversation … by the end of the conversation he was like ‘sign me up for a yard sign’ so he put a placard in his yard with the ‘Stop Adani’ symbol.”
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has also got supporters out pounding the pavement and this weekend will target homes in Petrie, Ford, Flynn, Herbert, Capricornia and Leichhardt in Queensland. Door knockers will also be out in Boothby in South Australia, Dunkley and Corranagamite in Victoria as well as Reid, Banks and Gilmore in NSW.
While the door knocking efforts are just beginning for some groups now the official election campaign has started, the union movement has been door-knocking in preparation for years.
GetUp campaigners are equally as chatty. Some volunteers have been hosting lounge room parties with cheese platters and cold calling voters in marginal seats.
The campaign group also has a stunt costume cupboard including squids, a Nemo suit and puppet heads which get deployed across the country to ruin the street walks of leaders in marginal seats.
Lisa Martin (@LMARTI)Mr Sun has come out to greet @TurnbullMalcolm ahead of speech to Menzies Research Centre. #Election2016#ausvotespic.twitter.com/ix7gd3yPWLJune 10, 2016
And it’s also plastering billboards around key contest areas.
GetUp on Monday will be putting up climate change billboards outside treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s office in his Kooyong electorate, a traditional blue ribbon Liberal seat which could be at risk.
Scott Morrison, Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott in one of GetUp’s climate billboards. Photograph: GetUp
Advance Australia, a conservative movement set up to counter GetUp, has fought back with its own dress up box – a satirical superhero.
The orange suited superhero is set to tour the country telling voters that GetUp “manipulates” political parties and “increase[s] political correctness”.
On Tuesday, a person in a Captain GetUp suit handed out flyers in the electorate of Warringah, where the former prime minister Tony Abbott is facing a challenge from the independent Zali Steggall.
Slick videos are also part of its campaign toolbox.
Meanwhile the Australian Business Council is talking to voters at panel lunches with chief executives in regional Australia.
The council’s chief executive, Jennifer Westacott, and Greencross Limited CEO Simon Hickey are heading to Bathurst, NSW, early next month. The council released its election campaign business wishlist earlier this week.
Aid organisations lobbying to reverse six years of budget cuts are also active in key seats. Since September 2013, the Coalition government has slashed more than $11bn from the foreign aid budget.
World Vision chief advocate Tim Costello moderated a candidates’ community forum in Warringah.
Campaign for Australian Aid has signed on celebrity ambassadors as part of its social media efforts. Comedians Judith Lucy and Tom Ballard are among those trying to make the case for a more generous aid budget which is set to drop to a record low 19 cents for every $100 of national income in 2021-2022.
“This nation has really stumbled when it comes to compassion and helping people in other countries who are desperately in need,” Lucy said.
TV and radio host Tom Ballard in a campaign ad for Australian Aid. Photograph: Australian Aid