How to write a letter to your MP

how to write to your MP

There was a time when the words “write to your MP” made my eyes glaze over. “I am NEVER going to do that,” I thought. Well, here we are, a few years and many letters to my MP down the track. I guess there comes a point in your life where clicking on petitions and liking Facebook statuses no longer suffices in the War On Various Injustices. If you’ve got something to say, you may as well say it properly and to someone who just might listen.

You may have noticed I’m pretty passionate about climate change and think the government’s stance is somewhat lacking in this area (I just removed eight expletives from that sentence, see tip 10 below). I have recently been badgering communicating with my LNP member of parliament on this issue and have shared my two most recent letters for inspiration.

But first, some ideas on how to find your MP and how to craft a letter or email that gets a response.

  1. Find your MP’s contact details or email them directly here.
  2. In your opening sentence or the subject line, mention that you are a constituent, aka a voter!
  3. Quickly and clearly state why you are writing to them in a short opening paragraph.
  4. Expand on your concerns in the following paragraphs.
  5. Explain why the issue is important to you, don’t be afraid to get a bit personal.
  6. Let them know that their stance on this issue affects the way you vote.
  7. Be clear on what action you want them to take.
  8. Restrict the whole letter to one page.
  9. Write with passion, but be polite.
  10. Use appropriate language, and go back and read over your work to make sure it is professional and succinct.

Read more about writing to your MP on the Oxfam website.

Dear MP…

Below is a letter I wrote in August to our federal member (Petrie). I have had no reply despite following up with an email and a phone call. This particular MP is pretty good at avoiding things he doesn’t want to talk about (he was busy the night hundreds of people crammed into a function room at the RSL to discuss the future of solar energy) so I don’t take it as a complete loss.

Dear Luke Howarth MP

As a mother and small business owner in Clontarf, I am writing to express my concern about the government’s reversal of support for the Renewable Energy Target.

I have conducted significant research into the issue and can only conclude that any scaling-down of the RET would be a giant step backwards for Australia’s economy, and that scrapping the RET all together would have a disastrous impact on our nation’s future.

Australia has led the way in renewable energy technology and uptake, indeed your electorate of Petrie is one of the highest adopters of solar energy in the country and you expressed great enthusiasm for the Prime Minister’s election promise of one million more solar roofs.

Australia’s transition to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy has been underway for several years. Recently, however, progress has stalled. We are no longer world leaders. Australia is no longer considered a “good investment” in the renewable energy sector, and I am worried about the effects this will have on the economy and on my children when they graduate from school and start looking for work.

The renewable energy sector accounts for more than 24,000 jobs and has the potential to offer many more, shouldn’t we be encouraging this growth industry?

The RET does not cost taxpayers, nor does it come out of the budget. It has no effect on household electricity bills. Instead, it drives innovation and uptake of renewable energy. What do we gain by scrapping it?

I would like to hear from you an explanation on why the government persists in basing our economy on fossil fuels when they are a finite resource. Why are we lagging behind while the rest of the world moves to a post-carbon future?

I implore you to let Government know you will not support the scrapping of the Renewable Energy Target as it will affect jobs, our position on the global stage and, of course, our environment.

Judging by the enormous crowd at the Petrie Save Solar Forum last night, I am not the only person concerned about this issue and I hope you will respond to my concerns. I welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you further.

With regards,

My full name, address, phone number, email

And another one…

Dear Luke Howarth MP

As a constituent of Petrie, I am writing to express my concern over the government’s lack of commitment to climate change, in particular its stance on the renewable energy target.

As the events of last weekend’s G20 showed, the world is ready to take significant steps towards a low-carbon economy, however Australia’s government is determined to pursue a fossil-fuel based economy in the interests of short-term gains.

I am mother to a two- and a four-year-old, and when I picture the year 2030, I envisage a low-carbon Australia with a thriving renewable energy sector that leads the world in innovation and skill. Sadly, the government is doing nothing to bring this vision to fruition.

More than 70 per cent of Australians support the RET of 20% by 2020 and I am one of them. Reducing the target by 40% places an impossible burden on unproven policy (Direct Action) and means it is extremely unlikely we will meet our emissions-reduction target of 5%.

I am alarmed by the government’s stance on climate change and call on you to stand up for the RET and the renewable energy sector, which has been devastated by the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the future of the RET.

The shift to a global low-carbon economy is inevitable and history will not kindly remember those who got in its way. Please insist the renewable energy target remain unchanged and support Australia’s long-term growth and stability.

With regards,

My full name, address, phone number, email

Remember, they represent us!

I hope these tips have been helpful and inspire you to reach out and write a letter to your MP about whichever issue you are passionate about.  Members of parliament are there to be the voice of the people so in a way, it’s our job to let them know what we have to say. Don’t ever feel you are bothering them or wasting their time. If it’s important to you, it should be important to them. Got it?

Are you a letter-writer? If not, what’s stopping you?

photo credit: Calidenism via photopin cc

Comments

  1. Eve says

    Hi Jo, great blog! This is a really useful post. Letter writing to politicians seems such a mystery if you’ve never done it before, and there almost seems to be a conspiracy to keep it a mystery – or at least to keep it intimidating enough that most people are put off. I am currently writing a blog post for 1 Million Women about this topic and will link to this article.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge