TIM FISCHER'S TOP 10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING PARLIAMENT
1. On entering parliament, write down 10 names of close non-political friends you want to have still at the end of your career, and if you have not had contact with them by Cup Day each year, you initiate contact to keep the friendship alive.
2. Never be rude to any federal/state MP in your area, they cover a lot of ground as well as many functions, so better for them to be neutral than fired up against you. In fact, when speaking at a function with federal/state MPs present always recognise the federal/state MPs by name, even if you personally cannot stand them.
3. Never attack a nearby town or suburb just outside your electorate, you never know when a redistribution might transfer some into your electorate.
4. Position the night before to Melbourne/Canberra as the case may be for each sitting week, it allows you to hit the ground running. Whilst this is not always possible, it is a strongly commended approach for your scheduling.
5. Keep one half-day/full-day a month for you to allocate for a work-related activity which you decide on well ahead, for example, go to Adelaide for a direct briefing at Australian Rail Track Corporation HQ on relevant rail corridors. Otherwise, you are always in response mode with a diary driven out of control by invites and key policy agendas slipping by.
6. Select one country, preferably from within Asia for detailed contact, study and broad interface. It will add to your standing, it will help Australasia linkages by degrees and it is an enjoyable pursuit, especially for the years of opposition.
7. Select one policy area or subset of a portfolio/policy area for detailed study and knowledge build up, it is a good discipline, it will add to your standing, and it avoids the trap of being an instant half-expert on all and real expert on nothing at all. As part of this, keep a filing cabinet drawer for a chronology file and related reports in respect of each big issue, for example, a key rail corridor or a dam project or black spot mobile phone areas.
8. Have staff but better still you study every once weekly/twice weekly newspaper in your electorate for names of people to write to, individuals who have scored a mention in their newspaper for some good deed or some related item of public interest who in turn deserve a letter of commendation, personally signed by their local MP.
9. Pace yourself but yes, you must follow the 24/7 news cycles, you must listen to the 0700 ABC Radio News each morning and phone in if you have an angle, better still the 0600 News and 0630 Regional News.
10. Enjoy it all. - Tim Fischer
(Source: Steph Ryan, Deputy Leader of the Victorian National Party.)
Australian Associated Press