Write a Letter
Writing a letter or email to your local Councillor or MP is a classic way to engage in politics - but how do you start?
Make it easy for your reader to understand what's going on - is it a complaint? Do you have an idea to improve your community? Convoluted or confusing emails are less likely to get read or resolved.
Sometimes you might need to just tell your local pollie exactly how you feel - but where you can, ask or present a solution!
SHORT & SHARP
Keep your email or letter short, sharp and to the point - long essays can make for more confusing reading and might delay action
Are you able to engage your local community or neighbours in finding a solution? Do you want a meeting with your local politician? Do you have an event that they could attend? Community action requires community!
There's a lot in the world that can make us frustrated, angry or upset but your local representative is there to help. Remember that the person on the receiving end is a real person. A little respect can go a long way when it comes to collaboration!
Finally - don't forget to include your name and contact details. We can't help you if we don't know who you are!
Australian politicians - federal, state and local - are all bound by codes and principles to ensure your privacy is protected. If you email or send a letter, you won't be added to any newsletter or mailing list you explicitly didn't ask to be added to.
Who should you write to?
There are many reasons to engage with your local politicians. Did they put on an event you loved and want to see more of? Perhaps you don't think services are running as they should, or you're worried about the direction they're going in. While it may seem daunting to write to a politician - thousands of people do it every day. Many issues fall under different sectors of government - if you're not sure who you should write to, check out your local government website to see what services they provide.
If you're not sure, you can always write to a State Government Minister of a certain area or ask your local Councillor if they know who is in charge - someone, somewhere will surely know!
You can also write to numerous Councillors or MPs who might have a different opinion or plan of action!
It's important to be clear about what you're asking and what you want to see happen - politicians get a lot of correspondence from people who are upset about something in the community, but if you make it clear what you think should happen, it can provide a jumping off point for quicker solutions.
What outcomes do you want?
When you're running a big campaign, it might be easier to copy and paste what everyone else is writing but it can be seen as impersonal and not as effective.
Make sure to tell your local representative why this is important to you and your community. Sadly mass emails that have the same information are more likely to be ignored by some politicians.
There are certainly pollies out there who might seem like they're not doing a decent job but avoid using slanderous or offensive terms when you're writing an email or letter. You're more likely to have a good outcome and have your correspondence answered quicker if you don't throw around inflammatory terms. This doesn't mean you can't express frustration or annoyance but try to keep the swear words out!