Writing to MPs

Why write?

The word from insiders in MPs’ offices is that letters and emails are taken very seriously – and counted! For everyone who takes the time to raise an issue with them, they know there are many more people who feel the same way. If they receive lots of correspondence on a particular issue, it will be discussed in policy meetings and can have an effect on decision-making.

MPs are supposed to respond to all communications from their constituents, but they are much more likely to sit up and take notice of a personal email or letter as it shows their constituent cares enough to take the time. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an email or handwritten letter - they all count.

You don’t have to be an expert. Keep it short (a page or less) and personal. Write what you feel. Explain why the issue matters to you and what you want your MP to do about it.

How to do it: 

General tips (based on feedback from MPs and staffers)

  1. Put your letter in the main email window - don’t send it as an attachment!
  2. Keep it short - one issue per letter is good
  3. Include an “ask” - a request of what you want the MP to do (see this article)
  4. Don’t agonise over the wording:
    1. The word from politicians and staffers is quality is important but it's quantity that really counts
    2. Your MP probably won’t read your email/letter themself - it will be a staff member in their office who will scan it, count the number of letters they receive on particular issues, and present a summary of correspondence to the MP
    3. The more correspondence they get on climate issues, the more seriously they will take them

The inside word from staff in Ministers’ offices is if they get a large volume of correspondence on a particular issue, it will be mentioned in policy meetings. In addition, several MPs (including Mark Butler, Ged Kearney and Tim Watts) have told us the amount of “noise” constituents make is important – the more emails, calls and visits they get, the more they will take notice. During the live sheep export campaign, MPs across Australia were inundated with thousands of calls and emails, and they say this contributed to it becoming an issue in Parliament. We need to do the same and make lots of noise about climate issues!

If you need some help to get started:

  • here is an email template you can use,
  • Or, even easier, check out the issue briefings and email examples in this file, and adapt one

Other useful information

  • Some tips and info on specific issues, and questions to ask:
  • You can write to news media as well. Letters to the editor:
    • can be used to start a community conversation about climate issues
    • can stimulate public interest and media coverage
    • are often monitored by political organisations.

Here are some guidelines from The Age on writing letters to news media.  

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia, whose sovereignty was never ceded. We acknowledge that Indigenous peoples around the world are at the forefront of climate change, both in experiencing its effects and leading solutions for change. We pay our sincerest respects to all Elders, past and present.