How to lobby a politician
- Click here and put in your suburb or postcode to find your electorate.
- Once you know your electorate (it appears in red) click here to find out the name and contact details of your politician.
Remember that some electorates have the same name as suburbs, but sometimes they have very different names.
If you do not know the name of your state member of parliament and cannot work it out, please call Verena Heron on 9779 3200.
Please remember it is important to visit not just your member of parliament but also the candidate/s from other parties who will be contesting your seat in the March 2011 election. You can find your candidates by clicking here: www.streetlist.elections.nsw.gov.au
Remember also that are large number of sitting members are not recontesting this election. Find out if yours is, and if not who the replacement candidate is.
One of the best ways of lobbying politicians is meeting them face to face. If every early childhood teacher in NSW met with their local State MP, we could directly influence the views of most parliamentarians in NSW.
It is important to be informed about the person with whom you are to meet, including their name political party and electorate.
Most sitting MPs have electorate offices in their constituencies. Addresses and phone numbers can be found above. Other election candidates may be more difficult to track down. You could ask your local newspaper.
Usually a phone call to an MPs electorate office will be all that’s required for a meeting with a sitting MP, but you may be asked to put your request in writing. A short letter outlining who you are and what you want to talk about is all that is needed. If necessary follow this letter with a phone call. Your phone call may also give you an opportunity to make contact with the MP’s staff. Speak to them about the issue and leave a copy of the briefing sheet with them. Staff are important in reporting back the mood of the electorate. A phone call to other candidates should be enough to request a meeting with them.
Know what you’re talking about. You don’t need to be an expert — most politicians aren’t, but you do need to be prepared for the sort of questions they are likely to ask. (Knowing what party they are from helps you predict the views they are likely to hold.)
Take the Talking Points Information Sheet (PDF download) with you. It serves as a reminder to you as to the points you wish to cover.
Leave a copy of the Briefing Sheet for Pollies with the MP or candidate after you have gone to remind the politician of just what was discussed and what action we want of him/her.
Make sure you also understand enough about the political system and process not to make mistakes as your MP or candidate may use these to undermine what you are saying. This will suggest what strategy and arguments you might use to exert influence.
Three is an ideal number for a delegation. Having others to share the discussion as well as to take notes can be invaluable.
Be presentable and respect formalities. Make sure everyone in your delegation knows where the meeting is and meet outside fifteen minutes early. Be articulate and concise. Don’t get side tracked. Be friendly and polite. Find out the MP’s or candidate’s views on the pay parity issue.
Don’t speak for too long. Remember, you are aiming to open up a dialogue and get them to do something about your concerns. Listen to what they say and be prepared to start from their position.
Give them good political reasons why they should be prepared to take a stand on pay parity for early childhood teachers. Make it local. Explain what it means to your local community to have early childhood teachers and what impact it will have on your community if you don’t have them.
Remember, they like numbers, so be familiar with any useful statistics.
If you are asked a question which you cannot answer, say you don’t know and arrange to get back to them with an answer. Ask them what they would be prepared to do. It is very important that you are able to draw a commitment from them that means you will have to get back in touch, and vice versa. Ask them what they would be prepared to do to take the issue further. Would they be prepared to:
- make a public statement,
- talk to the Minister or Premier on your behalf, or write a letter raising your concerns,
- talk to a fellow MP,
- ask a question in Parliament,
- raise the issue at a Party Meeting?
Regardless of the meeting’s outcome, thank them again for the opportunity to meet them and to air your concerns. Leave them a summary of your concerns.
Good follow up is essential. Ensure that you send any promised information ASAP. Ensure the politician honours any commitment to you and follow up with a phone call or email until it’s resolved. Communicate with the Union. This is important so that we know who has been seen and what sort of response we’re getting. Please email us a report of your meeting to email@example.com.