Taking the time and effort to call your local MP is one of the most effective ways of making positive change on your patch of the planet. A phone call says: I am engaged and this issue is meaningful to me. From the perspective of an MP, hearing a voice of a fellow resident is more personal, more immediate, and harder to ignore! Remember: they’re your elected official, they work for you.
But we know that calling an MP can seem a little daunting, so that’s why we’ve whipped up this simple guide to making the call to your MP easy and effective.
1. What to do before the call
Learn what you can about the MP and their position on climate change, energy or the specific topic you’re calling about. Often their parliamentary biography or personal website will have useful information on this. We recommend jotting down the three key points you’d like to make during the call. To find your local representative and their contact details, you can visit the government’s directory here. (Note: Many MPs will not have stated their phone numbers.)
TAKE ACTION: Use our tool to look up your state planning minister and give them a call to demand they help Australian families, schools and businesses get off gas.
2. Making the call
Now, it’s time to call the MP’s electorate office! State your full name, mention that you live in their electorate and that you’d like to speak with the MP about climate action (or another more specific topic). You may not actually get to speak to the MP. If that’s the case, make sure you leave a message to pass along (you can follow this up with an email if you like). Politely answer any questions the electorate officer may ask – they provide feedback to their MP about what the local electorate thinks or wants.
3. During the call
- Be yourself: it’s important to be genuine. Don’t worry about having a highly polished message – just relax and speak from the heart.
- Remember your key points: it helps to be clear and concise – our reports are a good place to start to help you develop these.
- Tell your story: talk about why strong action on climate change is important for you, or how extreme weather – made worse by climate change – has made an impact on your life. This strengthens and personalises your call.
- Be respectful: no matter the position of the MP, remember to be respectful to them and their staff.
- Stay on message: it’s easy to get distracted – if you go off on a tangent, find a way to come back to your key points.
- Be concise: MPs’ offices are often very busy, so try to make your point succinctly. Don’t know the answer? That’s ok. Say you’ll get back to them with the answer.
- Ask for their support: ask your MP if you can count on their support for strong climate action in the future. If they say they will support this, ask them to speak with their colleagues to help deliver this.
4. Following the call
- Thank the MP: send them an email or letter, thanking them for the conversation and reminding them of any commitment they may have made to you.
- Keep in touch: if you see an interesting article, forward it to the MP to keep yourself (and climate action) in their mind.
Feel like giving it a go? We just released a report that found gas is harmful to our health and are calling state planning ministers to help Australian families, schools and businesses get off gas. Click here for some key facts and to use our simple tool to find your minister’s number.