Picked this up from a facebook group...
Ever written to your federal politician, to your local Member, to a Senator or to a Member of Parliament?
Got an answer? Did it take three or four months? Did the answer come from someone entirely different, like a government department? Did it really respond to your letter or did you - rudely - get a truckload of spin and smoke and mirrors and party policy?
Writing your letter is the easy part. But it will be very likely that the person you're writing to will never personally read your letter. The days of personal contact with politicians are slowly vanishing behind a gigantic bureaucratic maze of accountability structures. Here are some tips that will make your letter stand out and ensure it's being read by the person you're writing.
• Your politicians
All contact details for politicians are on the Parliamentary website at aph.gov.au.
The first link is the overview with link to lists by party, by State etc. The second link is the alphabetical list:
House of Representatives Members:
• Parliamentary address or Electorate address?
Don't use the Parliamentary office address for your letter, ALWAYS send it to the Electorate Office for all Members of Parliament or Senators. In Parliament your letter will end up on a giant pile and gets less attention - and the "tricks" explained below won't work.
• Envelope and address: the important start
First, make sure the address and postal details are in the BOTTOM RIGHT QUARTER of the envelope. Too many people chalk the address all over the front of the envelope, and it won't look good. The professional outside helps our trick and gives a credible impression. If you can type the address on the envelope, that's even better!
State and PCode
• Now add: PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Envelope all done? Then it's time for your RED pen and to add "the personal touch" above the address. This will ensure your letter gets the importance it deserves - almost, not entirely. For that to happen we have one more trick below.
Make sure the pen is RED and use clear block letters:
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
State and PCode
• That extra mile: Use Registered Mail
By sending your letter as Registered Mail, you will considerably increase its importance: the recipient will have to sign for its delivery - it becomes a "person-to-person" letter, even if it's a staffer in the politician's office who signs for its receipt. Registered Mail will cost you an extra $2.30, but it's worth the weight it adds to your writing.
• I Write To You And I Vote: using pressure
Feel free to tell your politician that your vote counts, and that they need to earn it. This year it's the biggest pressure point on politicians, and you are in your right mind to demand just policies - whether that's in relation to the ghastly treatment of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, in relation to the undermining of United Nations Conventions, in relation to the massive concern we all share about the environment, in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers who have arrived by boat, in relation to mandatory detention of boat arrivals, or what have you.
Remind them. Tell them. Urge them. Scold them. Cajole them - and tell them your vote to them is at risk. You write to them AND you vote!
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