TAKE ACTION Write to your politician
Sample of one campaign
TAKE ACTION to help stop babies and families being returned to Nauru. Sample letters you can cut and paste to contact our politicians. Hints for contacting politicians and their contact details.
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We generally direct criticism of Australia’s refugee policy and the actions taken by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection at Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton. However, every Federal politician is also responsible, unless they have actively and openly opposed the Federal Government’s position and actions. The Australian Labor Party has supported all the recent legislation and has also breached international law by ignoring Australia’s obligations under several UN conventions.
Many Federal politicians do not know the facts about our refugee policy, and most have not confronted the moral issues it raises. Our politicians are fed information by their minders and the party political spin doctors. A good example of this was the “2001 Children Overboard Affair“.
So, the responsibility is on us to educate our politicians and force them acknowledge the facts and confront the issues raised. We can all do this by writing to them, asking very simple, focused questions and then pressing for an answer.
Pressing them for an answer is critical, they will not want to answer and they will refer your letter to someone else, or respond with a form letter containing bureaucratic fog in the hope that you will go away.
Are you up for the letter writing challenge?
The challenge is simple, just follow the steps below:
- Create a list of questions that you would like answers to. Click here to view sample questions.
- Write a letter and ask just two questions.
- Write often enough that you get through all the questions on your list.
Below are some tips to follow when writing your letter.
- Keep the letter short and use your own words.
- Do NOT make speeches or offer opinions.
- Handwritten letters often get more attention than printed letters. Emails are often ignored.
- You are likely to get a wordy or evasive answer. Read it carefully. If it does not actually answer your questions, write again pointing out politely that they have not answered the question. Repeat the question and ask for an answer. Repeat this process as often as necessary.
- If you get an answer, write and thank them and ask a different set of questions and repeat above process.
- Remain polite and keep letters brief. This makes evasion all the more evident. Remember: repeated refusal to answer a simple question carries its own story.
- Write to Coalition members first as they carry most of the blame.
General Letter Writing
Tips for writing to federal politicians:
- Use your own words, not someone else’s. An original letter sent by one person is generally more effective than a form or template letter sent by dozens of people. If you feel your writing skills are not the best, remember that a letter written in your own words will carry much more weight than a letter that just repeats what some else said. If after writing your letter you are not happy with it, email it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will provide you with some feedback. But at the end of the day it needs to be your letter.
- Always remain polite and courteous, but don’t be afraid to take a firm position. While your representative’s job is to represent you, you must remember that politicians and their staff are people too. Threats, hostile remarks and rude/offensive language are among the fastest ways to alienate people who could otherwise decide to support your position in light of rational and reasoned argument. Your representative could be in elected office for decades, and could be promoted to higher, more influential, office within their party. Avoid creating enemies.
- Keep your letter brief. For this campaign please ask only two questions. As a normal rule letters should be no longer than one page and should be about one issue only. You need to be concise as Politicians receive many letters on many topics every day. Long or rambling letters are likely to be put aside and read on a quieter day and that day may never come. Also brief concise letters makes evasion all the more evident and repeated refusal to answer a simple question carries its own story.
- Handwritten letters often get more attention than word-processed letters and emails are often ignored.
- You are likely to get a wordy or evasive answer. Read it carefully. If it does not actually answer your questions, write again pointing out politely that they have not answered the question.
- Repeat the question until you receive an answer.
- If you get an answer, write thanking them for the response.
Federal Members Contact Details