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Solanum nigrum (Black Nightshade)Heliotropium europaeum (Common Heliotrope)Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan)Opuntia robusta           (Wheel Cactus)Marrubium vulgare (Horehound)Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)Tribulus sp. (Caltrop)Malva parviflora (Small-flowered Mallow)Carthamus lanatus (Saffron Thistle)Alternanthera pungens (Khaki Weed)Cichorium intybus (Chicory)Carduus pycnocephalus (Shore Thistle)Briza minor (Lesser Quaking Grass)Chondrilla juncea (Skeleton Weed)Briza maxima (Quaking Grass)Solanum sp. (Nightshade; seedlings)Conyza sp. (Fleabane) Dipsacus fullonum (Wild Teasel)Alstroemeria hybrid (Peruvian Lily)Malva parviflora (Small-flowered Mallow)


Advocacy for the Weed Society?

Advocacy for the Weed Society?


Should the Weed Society undertake advocacy? If it does, what type of advocacy would best serve it?


President, Michael Hansford, answered the first question for me when he said that the conferences, seminars, Weedscene and other promotional work of the Weed Society already fits the definition of advocacy.


Advocacy is about advancing an idea. Some people might immediately worry that advocacy means taking a political position or organising a protest. But as soon as you put pen to paper, open your mouth or send an email you are being an advocate and performing advocacy.


When I spoke at the Weed Society Seminar last April to challenge the audience and Weed Society members to become stronger advocates for weed control, I expected some discomfort. My perception was that because the bulk of the Society’s membership was employed by government that this prevented the Society speaking publicly.


To my surprise, immediately after my talk I was invited to attend the next Weed Society executive committee meeting to see how I might assist with increasing the Society’s advocacy. I’ve joined up as a member and I have attended my first meeting. I was warmly received and this reassured me that the Weed Society does care about its mission: to promote interest in weeds and their control.


Now I will be working on behalf of the committee to trial some advocacy (in addition to the usual forums the Society holds) and to develop Society policy positions. See separate story: To Support a ‘White List’ Approach to Weeds?


The type of advocacy could consist of promoting policy positions to members, and the public and to present its benefits to the government of the day, other political parties and potential allies.  Protocols would need to be developed to avoid any conflicts with members’ roles within government.


As I mentioned in my talk earlier in the year, the Weed Society is uniquely placed to offer a scientific and expert voice about policies and laws needed in Victoria to address some of the root causes of our escalating weed problem.


These are small but important steps for the Weed Society.  We would love to hear what you think Weed Society advocacy might look like. Send your thoughts to or fill in the online survey.


Andrew Cox


Note: I’ve joined the Weed Society in an individual capacity, despite holding the position of CEO of the Invasive Species Council. Not only can I bring to the Society my skills in managing small and medium-sized organisations and conservation advocacy, but I can also draw on the work of the Council. I look forward to assisting the Weed Society achieve its mission.