What Does it Take to Get Into Australian Politics?

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If you’re aspiring to get into Australian politics, there are certain steps you’ll need to take. First, you’ll need to develop relevant professional skills. In addition to this, there are also specific personal attributes – often referred to as ‘soft’ skills – you’ll want to cultivate. Of course, gaining a tertiary qualification in politics can also be a great help. 

For more information on how to follow these steps and pursue a career in Australian politics, just keep reading.

Develop the Relevant Professional Skills and Capabilities

If your ambition is getting into politics, there are certain professional skills, capabilities, and attributes you will need to develop to be successful. For instance, some of the essential professional skills required for a successful career as a politician or public policymaker include:

Analytical Skills, Critical Thinking Capabilities, and the Ability to Conduct Research into Current Issues

A key element to being a competent politician and policymaker is the ability to understand current issues at their core. Being able to analyse and assess social issues and challenges and how to address them is, as such, essential. For this reason, critical thinking capabilities and analytical skills are critical for any individual aspiring for a challenging yet rewarding career in politics. As well as this, politicians and policymakers need to be able to conduct their own research into the issues at hand.

Excellent Written and Verbal Communication Skills, as well as Public Speaking Capabilities

A large component of being a politician is being in the public eye. For this reason, an aspiring politician needs to have exemplary communication skills – both written and verbal. They also need to be confident in addressing large audiences. As such, strong public speaking capabilities are also essential. Fortunately, if you are not a natural public speaker, these skills can be developed. Debating training during school and university, for example, can help set you up as a competent and confident public speaker in the political arena.

Strong Leadership and Strategic Decision-Making Capabilities

A politician is also expected to act as a leader to their people. As a member of the government, your constituency will look up to you to use your judgement, knowledge and experience to make sound decisions on their behalf. Often, you will also be looked to as somewhat of a role model by your public. For this reason, a politician’s reputation – as well as how they are perceived by the public, and perhaps more importantly – portrayed in the media – is also crucial to succeeding in the role.

Problem-Solving, Trouble Shooting, and Crisis Management Skills

Lastly, politicians and policymakers need to be able to problem-solve in times of crisis. The government’s response to a crisis event plays a huge part in its success and approval by the public. Being able to think on your feet and troubleshoot is, as such, essential.

Cultivate the Appropriate ‘Soft’ Skills and Personal Qualities

Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-woman-in-black-blazer-8847180/

Professional capabilities aside, to be successful in politics, there are also certain soft skills an individual needs to cultivate. So, what are soft skills? Essentially, these are personal attributes, qualities and characteristics that make up an individual’s personality and character, and influence how they interact with other people and the world around them.

Some soft skills that are essential to succeed as a politician or policymaker include:

Integrity, Sincerity and Authenticity

Acting with integrity is essential if a politician wants to gain the respect of the public. As is appearing genuine, sincere and authentic. People want to feel like they can trust their governing figures. Often, a politician will subscribe to a strong moral code or set of values. To appear authentic, then, they need to behave in line with these values. This in turn increases a politician’s credibility and positive reputation, as well as the public perception that they are worthy of the people’s trust.

Drive, Dedication and Ambition

Of course, aspiring to become a politician is not for the faint of heart! For this reason, budding government members need to be driven, ambitious, and dedicated to the cause. A big part of this is developing the strength, courage and resilience needed to survive the political arena! Indeed, a career in politics can be brutal, and political figures are often the subject of a great deal of public scrutiny. However, by developing a thick skin, and remaining committed to their drive and dedication, a politically-minded individual can achieve their lofty political goals! 

Acquire a Higher Education Qualification in Politics or Public Policy

Of course, if you want to get into politics, obtaining a tertiary qualification is not always essential. Indeed, many politicians have secured government roles without a university degree

However, it can also be argued that if you want to develop both the professional capabilities, as well as the soft skills, required for a challenging career in politics, you simply must get a formal education. It has been proven that going to university enables graduates to learn how to think both critically and analytically, problem-solve, and also, enhance their communication skills. Further, simply put, it must be said that having a tertiary education can make you appear more intelligent than someone you do not! This is because you learn how to speak well, get your point across, and address large groups of people confidently. Undoubtedly, these are all essential skills for a successful career in politics! 

Needless to say, getting into politics is not for everyone! Australian politics in particular can be extremely brutal, with many Australian media outlets being especially scathing of certain members of parliament. However, if you feel that you’re dedicated, driven and resilient enough to pursue a political career in the public eye, this could be an ideal career path for you to follow! 

Importantly, though, drive and dedication are not all you need to succeed in politics. You’ll also need to develop professional skills like strong leadership capabilities and communication skills, as well as the ability to think both critically and analytically, problem-solve, and make strategic decisions. And, most importantly, by complementing these professional capabilities with soft skills such as integrity, sincerity and authenticity, your career in politics will bloom. 

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