1. Small working group to share the tasks of pulling the event together.
  2. Venue – it’s a great opportunity for a church to provide a community service and get people into the building who would not normally think of darkening the doorstep.
  3. Candidates for your electorate. Ideally all candidates but at least the main contenders.
  4. Host / MC – ideally someone with experience in journalism.
  5. Voters willing to attend.


  1. When the election is called, identify a date a week or two before the polling date that suits your church calendar and form a small working group to share the tasks.
  2. Check the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to see the list of all candidates in your electorate (re-check periodically as the list does change) - (Wikipedia also has a full list of the candidates running in your electorate.)
  3. Use the AEC website to search for contact details (also search via Google and Facebook – more and more candidates use social media).
  4. Contact the candidates who are most likely to win (sitting member, major parties) to invite them to the event (example email in next blog). Locking in a date and time with these people anchors the event. Ask for contact details of the campaign manager as well as the candidate.
  5. Find a good MC – ideally someone who appeals to the candidates and gives them confidence the event will be well run. E.g. a journalist.
  6. Assure the candidates that the purpose of the meeting is to give them a platform to share their policies, and that the tone will be positive and constructive.
  7. Agree to a format with the MC – see example in the following blog.
  8. Create a Facebook event and an event Poster with the names of the candidates that have confirmed.
  9. Send invitations to all other local churches in the area and any other community groups, inviting them to attend.
  10. Contact all the other candidates to invite them to attend too. In our experience the minor candidates will contact you and ask to be included if the main candidates have accepted.
  11. Stay in touch regularly with all candidates’ teams – they appreciate being kept informed of which other candidates are attending and receiving a draft running sheet.
  12. Nominate people from your group to meet the candidates as they arrive at the event, who can stand with them and chat and introduce them to the MC.
  13. Start the meeting with an Acknowledgement of Country or Welcome to Country.
  14. Make sure that the MC explains what will happen at the meeting and that the goal is to give each candidate the chance to explain their policies – it is not a meeting for personal attacks or extended political commentary from the floor.
  15. Decide with the candidates beforehand whether to take questions from the floor or to only take written questions (which requires paper and pens to be distributed before or during the meeting). Both can work well. In our experience the candidates are happy to take questions from the floor but the MC must insist that questions are short and comments are limited to one or two sentences.
  16. Stick to time and make sure everyone is thanked for participating and attending.