Climate change has been singled out as one of the primary culprits behind the recent bushfires. At this point, it’s public knowledge that the devastating fires originated from a typical weather pattern that has been escalated by the change in the climate.
So in wake of this catastrophe which took dozens of human lives, killed countless animals and brought several species to the brink of extinction –the people are calling on the government to take practical steps and create an effective climate strategy.
Morrison has maintained a pro-coal stance throughout his political career and has condemned climate activism in the country. In 2017, he stood up in the parliament and mocked the opposition with a lump of coal, stating “This is coal. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be scared! It won’t hurt you”.
Keeping all this in perspective, Australians are right to worry about the government not doing enough whilst dealing with this existential threat.
So in order to press the government on this issue, citizens need to take matters in their own hands. To quote Edith Nesbit’s Railway Children, “Keep going, even when it gets tough”.
Lobbying Your MP on Climate Crisis
The change in the earth’s atmosphere threatens all life. Citizens cannot sit back and let the government stumble its way over a half-baked policy. Individual efforts such as using metal straws or buying sustainable fashion can only achieve so much.
It’s therefore imperative for people to force the issue by reaching out to their Member of Parliament (MP). Constituents should let their representative know that they care deeply about the environment and want some decisive actions.
Since it’s your vote that decides if a candidate makes it into the parliament, your voice holds a lot of weight.
There’re three ways to go about this –you can either write to your MP, call them or set up a meeting.
1. Write to the MP
Reaching out to the MP is an effective way to make your voice heard. However, you can also contact the state Senators and Ministers who have portfolios related to environment or energy –the two of the key ministries that direct the government on its climate policy. The information you need for contacting them is available on this page.
It’s important to use the correct title and contact details. Put the name and address of the MP on the top left corner, as is the general protocol. Likewise, start the representative’s name with Ms/Mr./Mrs./Dr and end it with MP. Senior politicians, especially those that are or have been government ministers enjoy the title ‘The Honorable’.
Others it’s simply something like:
Mr. Adam Bandt MP
Member of Melbourne
296 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
2. Give MP a Call
A more direct method is to phone the MP’s office and voice out your concerns. The website of the Australian parliament has numbers of all the members’ offices. If you’re calling a minister, they might have a specific advisor on climate change. The call will get transferred to the advisor’s office and you’ll be able to directly communicate with them on the matter.
Since MPs don’t have advisors on specific issues, you can ask the staff members to pass on the message. It should take hardly 2-3 minutes for you to articulate your thoughts on the climate crisis. Ask the staff to write down a record of your call in case they’re not doing it already.
3. Set up a Meeting With the MP
Of course, the most powerful way to get the MP to take your concerns more seriously is by meeting with them. Remember, members of parliament need to meet their constituents and raise their issues to the government –it’s a part of their job. So you are entitled to a meeting with your MP.
Phone the MP’s office and ask their staff to make an appointment. From the very outset, state what you want to discuss. Once you’ve managed to book the appointment, organize a group of locals to take with or otherwise go alone.
Go into the meeting prepared and explain your point of view regarding the situation with confidence. Be calm and courteous even though the subject of climate change is extremely sensitive. Try to connect with the MP by talking about how this matter affects you and your loved ones. Note down what your representative says so you may hold them accountable later on.
How to Go About Communicating With the MP
Whether you’re calling, writing a mail or trying to organize a meeting, introduce yourself as a constituent. MPs are more interested in hearing what their voters have to say. After this, proceed to discuss the recent bushfires and how they’re connected to climate change.
A report by Yale Climate Connections explains the link pretty well. You could even reference the Climate Change Performance Index cited in this report which ranks Australia’s environmental policy at 56th out of 61 countries that were evaluated.
Basing your argument on factual data will lend you more credibility while pressing the MP on issues like renewable energy targets and rising greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t forget to look into the MP’s record and thank them if they’ve had a progressive stance on the issue.
You need to be concise, objective and use scientific data to persuade them. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the whole conversation a personal touch. Tell the MP how devastated you’re over everything that has happened in the past few months.
Have clarity on what you want the MP to do. Whether you want them to make a speech in the parliament, attend an event or vote for/against a bill –let the representative know you demand action.
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