Last year was nothing short of extraordinary. Living in the midst of a global pandemic brought challenges that many of us had never experienced before. But here’s the thing… it wasn’t new.
In 1918 the world saw a deadly flu spread across the globe. 2020 was history repeating itself. Although our technology is now much more sophisticated, our greatest weapon in fighting against the spread of the COVID-19 virus was social distancing, exactly what we did more than a century ago.
The same can be said about campaigns. The fundamentals of what moves people and what they vote for are the same as a hundred years ago. People want to be safe and have economic security.
Blaring speakers atop cars have been replaced with peer to peer texting and digital organising. Standing on the back of a ute canvassing has been replaced by sophisticated, data-driven direct voter contact.
Despite these changes, the things that are important to people remain. The way we deliver the message might have changed, but the message itself is the same. And it’s just as effective now as it was back then.
The 2020 Campaign in Queensland was no different.
Labor’s core values of fairness, dignity and equality - while ordinarily potent - were even more powerful in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundamentally, people needed confidence that they would be safe and that there was an economic plan for jobs and security leading out of the pandemic.
Annastacia Palaszczuk gave Queenslanders the confidence they deserved in uncertain times. The Premier’s strength kept people safe. That strength was the proof people needed to trust in Labor’s economic recovery plan for jobs.
In an election, it is often easy to focus too much on the tactical campaigning fad of the day. It is easy to mistake every new technological campaigning product for genuine innovation.
The Queensland election proved that we need to be able to adapt and constantly improve our campaigning. We adopted QR code links to How-To-Votes, videoconferencing conversations and a digital campaign team located across the country.
While important, these changes can never come at the expense of, or distract from, the simple and relevant message that must sit at the heart of every campaign.
Julie-Ann Campbell is the Queensland ALP State Secretary