What is the Champion Scale?
This tool is a way to assess how supportive and active a parliamentarian is on an issue, and to plan how to make their support, commitment and activity deeper and more powerful. It can be easy to get stuck labelling your parliamentarians as “supportive” and “unsupportive” whereas in reality, it’s not that simple. Parliamentarians lie somewhere along the spectrum of support, between being outright oppositional and a committed champion for our issues. The problem with this is it’s hard to know what to do next. If someone is supportive, is our job done? If someone is unsupportive, is our job impossible? The Champion Scale adds nuance and allows us to dig deeper, to get a sense of just how supportive someone is, and how much further we can inspire them to go.
How do I use the Champion Scale?
Use this tool to assess decision makers, develop strategies, track learning and progress, and celebrate that progress. Using the scale, take your best guess as to where your parliamentarian sits currently, and set a target of where you would like to move them to. It will likely take some research and a few meetings to get a good sense of where they are on the Champion Scale – that’s ok. How they respond to your requests will give you a great sense of where they are on the Champion Scale; and you always want to make requests just above their current level to encourage them to move up the scale.
How do I assess where my MP is on the Champion Scale?
This tool ultimately allows you to make a good guess based on limited interaction; however developing a deep, trusting relationship with them will allow you to make a more accurate assessment with this tool. When considering your MP’s position on the Champion Scale, you can:
- Research the MP's background, voting history or speeches on the issues (openaustralia.org.au is good for this)
- Look at their aph.gov.au profile to see if they have held positions related to the issues, or sat on related committees
- Search for news items where the MP has commented on the issue
- Look at their website and social media profiles to see if they have stated their support for related organisations or causes
- Talk to others in your group or RESULTS staff who have met with the MP and have insights
- Reflect on meetings and correspondence you have had with this MP – What did they say? How did they act? What did they agree to do?
A good relationship does not mean they are a Champion.
When assessing where your parliamentarian sits on the scale, be objective. You may have an amazingly friendly relationship, but if they don’t speak up or take action on the issue (particularly when you ask them to) then they are not a Champion.
What do the numbers mean?
The Champion Scale assigns a rating to the parliamentarian, from -1 (Opponent), to 0 (Neutral-Uninformed), to 1 (Supporter), to 2 (Advocate), to 3 (Leader) and finally to 4 (Champion). The higher their rating the closer they are to being a Champion, the lower their rating the less supportive they are. Champions take more personal responsibility to act – therefore there are very few genuine Champions (but we aim to create more!) but many Supporters in Parliament.