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The Caretaker Period: Helping you Survive the Election

by Staff Writers •
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With the formal announcement of an election date, the 6 week period between now and 24 November (or until the election result is known) is known as the caretaker period. It is important that suppliers understand the implications of this arrangement for their government business, and their relationships with clients and prospects.

While the business of government continues during this period, by convention, the incumbent government aims to avoid any actions or decisions that will bind an incoming government and limit its freedom of action.

The Government avoids making major policy decisions or significant appointments, and avoids entering into major contracts or undertakings. Should such decisions or actions be necessary, such as in the case of natural disasters or threats to national security, the convention is that the Government will consult and gain the agreement of the Opposition.

There are also conventions aimed at protecting the independence of the public service, and avoiding the use of Commonwealth resources to benefit any political party. Ministers adopt a "hands off" relationship with their departments during this period. Agencies handle replies to "ministerials", and all political information and identification with ministers (links to ministerial sites etc), is removed from communications and websites.

It is vital that suppliers scrupulously observe the requirement to be politically neutral, and understand their client's need to sever ties with ministers. In their relations with government agencies, suppliers should avoid even the most subtle political links or messages. All material should be checked thoroughly, particularly any material that was prepared prior to calling of the election, that might contain "political" material.

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Jurisdiction
  • Federal
Sector
  • Policy
Tags
  • 2007 Election
  • Caretaker Period
  • Federal Government