Contacting our politicians effectively
You can imagine that our politicians on a Federal, State, and on a lesser level, local Councillors, are inundated by different types of communications from the public.
Here are some ideas that may make your communications more effective.
Contact by telephone
Your call will probably be taken by a staffer who will note your views.
- Write out what you want to say before calling.
- Keep it short and to the point – one or two sentences.
- Keep it polite – being rude will get you nowhere.
- If it is an election year and you are calling a Liberal politician in your electorate, it is worth adding that you will re-consider your vote on the basis of their continuing policy of building the Northern Regional Prison in the present location.
Contact by letter
- Keep your letter brief and to the point. Only ask a couple of questions. Keep your letter to one page if you can. Politicians receive many, many letters on many different topics. Long rambling letters are likely to be put to one side.
- A concise letter makes evasive answers all the more evident and repeated refusal to answer simple questions carries its own story.
- Be polite. Remember that politicians and their staff are people too.
- If you live in their electorate make sure you let them know.
- If you receive a template or form letter with points to make, make sure that you personalise it.
- Highlight a personal connection that makes you want to speak on the issue.
- Tell the politicians what you would like them to do about the issue.
- Ask for a reply to your letter. If you do get a response write and thank them for it. If you get a wordy or evasive reply read it carefully. If it does not answer the question write again firmly pointing out that they have not answered the question.
- Make sure that you include your contact details; first name, surname, postal address, phone number, and email.
- When writing to Government members send a copy to their opposition equivalent.
- Keep copies of all letters; ones that you send, and ones that you receive.
- An original letter sent by one person is generally more effective than a pro forma, generic email sent by many. Email campaigns rarely get acknowledged.
- A letter written in your own words carries much more weight than a letter that only repeats what somebody else has said.
- A hand written address on an envelope containing a neat hand written or typed letter sent by Australia Post can get more attention.
- If sending an email, attach a signed letter to it and give the office a call to ensure that they have received your email.