Australia is experiencing its most devastating bushfire season on record. Our elected representatives must demonstrate the same courage and leadership as those on the front lines of this crisis.
Millions of hectares of bushland and forest have burned. Thousands of homes, over a billion animals and many human lives have been lost.
But behind the fires are waves of kindness, courage and resilience. People coming together, opening their homes to strangers, cooking meals for firefighters, and tending to injured wildlife.
This tragedy must strengthen our resolve to come together, demand climate action and look after each other and our planet.
That’s why people across Australia are meeting with their MPs to make sure the causes of the bushfire crisis are addressed, not just the symptoms.
Read on for more information on how to meet your MP, or check out our detailed guide.
Bushfire response: detailed MP meeting guide
Who is my local MP?
You can find out which federal electorate you’re in and the local Member of Parliament that represents you at electorate.aec.gov.au
- Personalise this template and email your MP to request a meeting.. You can email them using our simple tool >> www.acf.org.au/mp
- Remember that MPs are busy people, and give as much notice as you can.
Can’t get a meeting? Use this tool to email your MP instead: www.acf.org.au/speak_out_bushfires
Prepare for the meeting
- If there are several of you, get together beforehand to agree who will say what, and in what order. It's also helpful to assign roles (e.g. facilitator, note taker, photographer.)
- Get in touch with ACF at [email protected] to find out how many people have signed the open letter in your electorate.
- Make sure you’re familiar with any statements your MP has made on the bushfires, and on climate and nature – especially recent statements.
- Read your MP’s maiden speech! This will help you understand who they are and what they stand for publicly.
During the meeting
- Introduce yourself and share a personal story of why you care about the issue.
- Show you’ve done your research – congratulate them if they have done something well on climate, including something they may have said publicly about their values.
- Outline how many people have signed the open letter in your community, along with any interesting stories from your conversations in the community.
- Tell them our policy asks and ask what they are prepared to commit to.
- Ask for a written commitment.
- Get a photo!
- Thank them and let them know you’ll be having more conversations with people in the electorate and will be back!
What policy asks do we want them to commit to?
- Rapidly replace coal with clean energy, stop any new coal mines and fund a transition plan for affected workers and communities.
- Massively increase funding for long-term wildlife and ecosystem recovery and create strong national environment laws to protect nature and end extinction.
What are we asking them to do?
Often, an MP will privately agree with you on what needs to be done, but their party’s position is different. So you can ask your MP to:
- Publicly speak out (in the media, in parliament, write to their leader, or on social media) in support of those demands – and let you know when they do.
- Publicly advocate for their party to change its position on these demands, or raise the issues in the party room.
- Take a photo with you and share it with their commitment to do the above.
- Remember, politicians are people too. Always be polite, professional and courteous.
- Take good notes during the meeting, including replies your MP gives to your questions.
- Ask your MP for a photo together to share afterwards. If they decline, take one with the group outside the office with clear signage in the background.
After the meeting
- Share the story of your meeting on social media with the hashtags #AustralianBushfireDisasters and #SpeakOutForClimate.
- Contact your local media to see if they are interested in a story about the meeting and campaign.
- Send a follow up email to your MP.
Have other questions?
Photo: Bruce Paton