TIPS FOR WRITING LETTERS TO PARLIAMENTARIANS
Writing to your MP is an opportunity to introduce yourself, inform them about issues you care about, and is a gateway to forming a solid relationship.
So whilst you may be focused on asking for a meeting, or anther action, the letter is also a good way to make yourself, and RESULTS, stand out.
Taking the time to write a personal letter on an issue is well worth it and far more powerful than a signature on a petition, a postcard, or an impersonal ‘form letter’ on an issue.
Who do you write to?
- You can write to your Federal Member of Parliament.
- You can write to ANY Senator from your state or territory
- You can write directly to:
o Minister for Foreign Affairs,
the Hon Julie Bishop MP
o Minister for International Development and the Pacific,
Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
o Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development,
the Hon Penny Wong MP
o Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
the Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
You can best find the information about how to contact these representatives from their websites.
Starting your letter
- Address the Parliamentarian correctly (Dear Senator Fierravanti-Wells, Dear Minister
Bishop, Dear Mr Thistlethwaite, Dear Ms Plibersek)
- Start with an attention catching sentence. It makes people want to read more. Even
put in a catchy heading. Make a call to action; some powerful information, statistics,
- Share your passion, concerns, and make it personal including something relevant
about yourself or your family.
- Keep your letter brief – preferably one page or less.
Updated July 2016
- Connect yourself to the MP’s interests, whether that be as a local resident, an
Australian, or a concerned advocate.
- Be respectful in the tone of your letter. Noone likes to receive unpleasant mail and
remember, you are asking this person to help you end hunger and poverty.
- If appropriate, respond to:
- a recent press article (include a copy if possible)
- a letter received from the Parliamentarian
- a speech they have made on the issue.
- Be clear about the point(s) you want to communicate. Use the least amount of
information necessary, and only what directly supports your case. Bullet points can
Concluding your letter
- Use a concluding paragraph that calls for a specific action or asks one or two
questions only. If you are asking the Parliamentarian to write to a Minister on your
behalf, ask for a copy of the Minister's response.
- Sign the letter in your usual signature and print your name, address, work and home
telephone numbers. The Parliamentarian's office may want to contact you about
- Typing your letter does make it easier to read (especially for someone in a hurry!).
Legible handwriting is however more personal.
- Keep a copy of your letter and send a copy to your group leader and/or
- As a general rule, expect a reply within 4-6 weeks. You may call the MP’s office after
2-3 weeks to check your letter has been received. Share your reply with your group
and follow up if any further action from the response is required.
A letter can help you ease into the political space, so don’t be afraid to reach out, be heard, and begin making an impact. A single page can start change, and it’s up to you to make sure it happens!