Sarah Gates

  • wants to volunteer 2018-10-16 21:46:43 +1100

    Letterwriting Tips!

    Why write?

    Make your MP work for you! Your MP is your connection to Canberra and represents you there, so get them working on the issues you care about. You don’t have to be an expert. The simple fact that you care is a good enough reason to contact a politician.

    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.


    Who to write to and how to contact them

    • Your Federal Member of Parliament
      • To find your Federal MP, go here, type in your postcode, click the MP's name, then click on the 'Connect' tab to see their contact details.
    • Federal Senators for your state
      • Find your state Senators and their contact details here, just type your postcode into the search bar.
    • The Prime Minister
      • Contact details here
    • The Leader of the Opposition
      • Contact details here
    • Relevant Ministers or Shadow Ministers
    • State Members of Parliament
      • Why? Policies about energy providers, or issues like fracking and mining, are made at the state-level.
      • If you live in Victoria, you can find your MP here. Select your electorate from the dropdown menu and click search, then click your MP's name to view their contact details (if you're unsure of your electorate, you can search for it here).

    What to write

    (We'd like to acknowledge Amnesty International and Julian Burnside as inspiration for these tips!)

    1. Make it clear that you are a voter in their electorate.
    2. Be polite. Make sure you use their full and correct name and title (click to enlarge).
    3. State who you are. Let them know you’re a parent/teacher/doctor etc., and mention if you have any connections in the community (e.g. attend a local school, belong to a community organisation/group, or work for a local business).
    4. State the reason why you are writing to them and outline very briefly the issue. Tell them how you feel and why it is so important to you. You can use letter templates as a guide for structure, but make sure your letter is in your own words.
    5. Be short and concise. Try to keep your letter to one page or less. If your letter is short and to the point, it will be obvious if their reply to you does or doesn't address your questions and concerns. 
    6. Ask for action. It is good practice to always have a clear action you would like your MP to take. In the case of signing the Safe Climate Pledge, your initial ask is simple (sign it!), but other times your ask may be around raising your concerns with their parliamentary colleagues, or to speak out for the issue you’re writing to them about, or support a particular piece of legislation.
    7. Ask for a response to your requests or questions. So make sure your 'ask' ends with a question mark, because if it doesn't it isn't a question!
    8. When they reply, don’t accept a generic response. Reply to their response if they haven't addressed your concerns, or if you don’t get a response at all within a month. Don’t give up: they depend on people running out of energy.

    Example letters

    If you need some more inspiration, you can read what others at Climate for Change have written to their MPs (click to enlarge):




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