Taking the time and effort to call your local candidates is a direct way to ensure your voice is heard in the lead up to the federal election, you may even bump into them in the street. A personal conversation says: I am engaged and this issue is meaningful to me. From the perspective of a candidate, hearing a voice of a fellow resident is more personal, more immediate, and harder to ignore! Remember: if elected they work for you and right now they want your vote.
We’ve whipped up this simple guide to help you have easy and effective conversations.
1. What to do before your conversation
Learn what you can about the candidate 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.
2. Prepare your messages
We recommend jotting down three key points you’d like to make during your conversation. Our communication guide will help to highlight some important focal points.
3. Contacting your candidate
Now, it’s time to contact your candidates office! State your full name, mention that you live in their electorate and that you’d like to speak with the candidate about climate action (or another more specific topic). You may not actually get to speak to them. 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) and find out where they are likely to be around your electorate for meet and greets. Politely answer any questions the electorate officer may ask – they provide feedback to their MP about what the local electorate thinks or wants.
4. During the conversation
- Be yourself: it’s important to be genuine. Don’t worry about having a highly polished message – just relax, be polite and speak from the heart.
- Remember your key points: it helps to be clear and concise – our communication guide is good place to 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 message.
- Be respectful: no matter the position of the candidate, 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: Candidates 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 candidate 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.
5. 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? Find your local representative and their contact details here.
Call on the incoming government to dramatically lower national emissions by rapidly scaling up readily available renewable energy and building an economy that is free from fossil fuels.
Get inspired by our Top 10 large scale climate solutions article.