Dear friends and supporters,
The idea for the23million came pretty suddenly into the heads of a few like-minded individuals in March this year. The state of the political debate seemed to have descended to an all-time low, and we felt Australia deserved better.
We also felt Australia didn't need another traditional political party (you know…one with policies and politicians and staff). So we tried to design something different….a pop-up party, a movement for change, with just one simple objective…to secure a review of the current system conducted entirely by regular citizens.
Within four weeks of having the idea, we had gained the support of dozens of like-minded people. And with their (your) help (we are hugely grateful for the time, ideas, and money you donated) we were able to meet the AEC requirements and get our pop-up party on the ballot for the Federal Elections. We soon had 1,000 party members, and almost 1,000 Facebook followers. Not bad for something just a month old.
But now things were real. And this was when we started to struggle.
We quickly found that we didn't have the resources, and quite possibly the insider political “smarts”, to develop the23million to the next level.
We needed to build our policy platform, but our small (and 100% voluntary) core group of organisers struggled to keep up with the demands of working through case studies, policy proposals, and meetings with academics and experts to create something of true substance and credibility.
We needed to build our community engagement, but that same small group struggled to find the time to build the digital forum we knew our supporters and friends would benefit from (moving discussions off Facebook and onto our own web page).
We needed to build our election campaign machine, but again that same small group struggled to deal with the endless demands for preference meetings with other parties, and that was before we had even started to think about candidate selection ballots, town hall meetings, and a live campaign in multiple states.
As an example: We received close to 100 calls from small parties wanting to negotiate preference deals, we felt like Dr Seuss’s Push-me-Pull-you. What we were trying to do was propose a way OUT of all these cynical machinations and politicking and yet we were getting inexorably sucked into its vortex. And so we started to discuss more and more commpromises to make it all feel workable, and that was when the lightbulb went off...
We realised we risked becoming just one more problem rather than one simple, elegant solution.
We started this process naïve, unaffected by the traditional ways of doing politics. And we tried to stay that way. But certain realities caught up with us…not least the need for a full-time party organisation. So rather that run a sloppy campaign that does our cause damage, we have decided to run no campaign at all at this election.
Instead, we will continue to support thinking and proposals for a review of the political system and we counsel all our friends and followers to take a look at the New Democracy Foundation’s recently published proposal for a review. You can find it on their website www.newdemocracy.com.au.
We also remain committed to launching and sustaining the23million discussion forum, where our community of supporters and friends can continue to explore ways to make our political system more inclusive, more accountable, more engaging, and more in keeping with the values of 21st Century Australia. But we will need your help to make it happen…more on that in the coming weeks.
We're proud of what the23million demonstrated…that so quickly so many people could be united around a bold commitment to improve our nation's political system.
So thank you…to everyone who has helped the23million. Onwards and upwards and let us all hope that regardless of who wins power on September 7, we begin to see just the slightest incremental improvement in the manner of politics in the next term and the one after that.
Cheers, and thank you.
Stuart Gregor – Secretary
Matt Jones – Campaign Director