CHOICE membership

Choice Workshops

I have found the attitudes of the denizens of each capital city, as well as the regions, seem to have different value systems, approaches to life, and obviously there are varied social-cultural norms weighted differently from place to place.

Although Choice is based in the Sydney area and thus reasonably holds workshops and events there for convenience and costs, I suggest your workshops could be more inclusive than just those residing in the greater Sydney area.

Choice might do well to replace or augment workshops not requiring hands-on with products by investigating webinars or funding day trips and a few hours of room rent to hold sessions in various places about the country.

Although there should be obvious consensus about some things regardless of social-economic-cultural background, it can be educationally surprising how that expectation is not always the case.

YMMV

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Thank you for raising this Phil.

I completely agree and have raised this same issue a number of times over the years. I also suggested that product testing, shadow shopping, availability of products, repairs, seminars etc, etc should take into account regional Australia.

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Choice does hold regular workshops in the various capital cities. I know they were in Perth and Adelaide either last week or the week before. I went to our normal website (rather than our internal one) and couldn’t find any news items on there announcing when and where the next workshops were. I could not find any publicly available information, so it may be something that is restricted to the subscribers only. If @BrendanMays doesn’t get back to you first, I’ll see what I can find here about the process of communicating workshops.

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Thanks @jcouch. I am a member and occasionally see events “not here” (eg where “I” am), while there are comparatively quite a few Sydney centric announcements. The one about product labelling caused me to post.

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We don’t host a lot of face-to-face events but to the extent we do, we try to share them around the states. So far this year we have hosted an event for voting members in Melbourne and joint CHOICE-ABC consumer forums in Adelaide and Perth.

We find this really useful for the reasons you point out @TheBBG - the socio-economic circumstances can differ a lot from place to place. What’s happening to tenants is a great example of this - whereas in Sydney/Melbourne it’s a landlords’ market, in Perth it’s more of a tenants’ market. These differences often get missed in the national debate.

We are also conscious of the growing economic divide between capital cities and regional areas. I’m interested in any views on how we can get better at addressing this in our work.

I’m also interested in any suggestions on places we should visit - CHOICE.community members help to make these events a success!

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I did not mean only sharing them, but having wider inclusion on each through webinars or multiple sessions. Using your example of renting and bending it for my purpose, as you wrote you will get different outcomes depending on the location so holding it in any one place gets results only for that place, while having the same discussion in all the places gets a cross section.

For renting someone in (eg) Sydney is not concerned with (eg) Hobart, unless they intend to relocate, but for labelling standards a national consensus makes more sense than a [name your place]-centric data collection.

I trust that makes some sense.

That does indeed make sense - and we’ll take it on board for CHOICE events. (The food labelling one is a government-organised one - we’re just trying to drum up consumers to attend because we know that will lead to better outcomes!)

This is what we are talking about. I have been a subscriber since 1973 I think, and my recollection is that most of everything happens in Sydney. I have been invited to a couple of Sydney events, but it hasn’t been possible to attend.

Again the capital cities.

I understand that Australia is enormous, & I don’t know what percentage of the Choice community live outside Sydney/Melbourne or in regional areas, but I am sure the tech savvy people at Choice could find ways to make events more inclusive. Perhaps, by streaming events live, and I agree with Phil about making webinars available.

I don’t know if Darwin has ever been graced by Choice’s presence. What about the Gold Coast? It is the 6th largest city in Australia and the largest non-capital city. Both of these cities have completely different socio-economic profiles and needs to the normal Sydney/Melbourne duopoly.

Also, please remember that not everyone is able bodied and able to travel long distances to get to Choice events.

I appreciate that Choice attempts to be inclusive, but until there is effective outreach to the wider Choice community, the inclusiveness will be limited.

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Thanks @meltam - we have just been talking about doing something in Darwin so it’s great to get your thoughts on that. We have also been considering a visit to Brisbane but the Gold Coast is a great suggestion - either instead of or as well as Brisbane.

BTW - for anyone who is a CHOICE voting member, we always run our AGMs as webinars these days, in a way that allows people joining remotely to participate - not just watch a live stream.

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Hijack, but usually a truism. Some years ago in the US I was in a session filled with executives from the oil companies who were discussing issues. It was to be 2 hours. After about 30 minutes a gent raised his hand “That is very interesting. I am from the government and would like to find out how we can help…” The room was empty inside of another 5 minutes. :smiley:

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I think CHOICE could make itself more prominent in regional Australia by participating in country or agricultural fairs. Tell people in the country what good work CHOICE has been doing in defending consumer rights and recruit more members. Unlike their urban cousins, country people have less access to consumer rights education and information. In fact, when they encounter problems concerning product defects or inferior services they need more help than we city folks.

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