Politicians Need to Hear from You
Young people have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Politicians are currently making important decisions about our future and the COVID-19 recovery that will affect the rest of our lives. Besides voting (check out our Election Navigator resource with all the info you need), meeting your MP is another powerful way you can make an impact on this election and our future.
This guide is based on a similar guide we made for meeting your MP in Victorian Parliament as part of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan, but adapted for the Federal Government.
Step 1: Prepare
You should prepare for your meeting and decide what you want to say and why. Write down some notes about the story you want to tell, the issues you care about and the impact on the community. This might include losing your job, experiencing worse mental health or struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. It could also include the need for climate action, your experiences at education or youth services, or what else you care about in regards to your future. You can talk about something that is happening now or something that you expect to happen over the next few years.
Step 2: Request a Meeting
The next step is to request a meeting with one or more representatives. There are three different types of representative you can meet. You can meet with your local MP who sits in the lower house or House of Representatives, and represents your local area. You can also meet with a representative in the upper house, or House of Senate, the Senate is designed so that states with lower populations aren’t drowned out by states with higher populations. Because of this, the Senate often has more independents and is not dominated by the government party – sometimes there isn’t even a majority in the Senate at all. In this way, the Senate is a check and balance on the House of Representatives.
Use these steps to find your representatives:
Find your federal electorate and local member here.
Email your request for a meeting. In your email include your name, a bit about your story and your availability to meet. You can use the following template to help:
Dear [Ms/Mr/Minister last name]
I am writing to request a meeting with you to discuss my experience of COVID-19 as a young person and [insert issue you care about].
I would like to discuss with you [add some detail about what you want to talk about]. I want to talk with you about how the [add some detail about the change you want to see and the local community impact].
Could you please advise a suitable time to meet [suggest dates or days or times that you are available] over [Zoom or Microsoft Teams]?
I can be contacted on [mobile number] or via reply email to arrange a suitable time.
Step 3: Nail that Meeting
Now it’s time to go along and meet with your local representative! You can use the following structure as a guide of what to do in the meeting.
- Introduce yourself
- Your name
- Where you live
- Explain what you want to talk about
- Your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic
What you want to see changed
- Explain what it would mean for you
- Ask for a commitment to your recommendation
Thank your representative for meeting with you
It’s important to be polite but firm during your meeting — here are some tips for meeting with your representative:
Be polite and respectful
Be organised, come on time and be prepared
Remember that they want to listen to what you have to say
Try to keep the conversation on track
Remember to include a direct ‘ask’ of the politician — it’s not rude!
Do you have any questions or unsure about anything to do with meeting with your MP? Ask our friendly Policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org