Start your letter as follows: ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr Last Name’ in the case of MPs, and ‘Dear Senator’ or ‘Dear Senator Last Name’ in the case of Senators. Find your Representative/Senator and how to address them
Start your letter by saying who you are, why you are writing to them and your connection to the issue. If you are a member of their electorate, make this clear.
Your letter should be as short and simple as possible – no more than 1 page on one issue using points to make your case. If the issue needs further explanation attach documents or links.
Use your own words. Form letters can demonstrate the level of community support or opposition to a particular issue but they do not have the same impact as a well crafted, passionate and personal letter. Personalise form letters by
– Including relevant facts and figures
– Referring to a recent news item about the issue
– Highlighting a local connection to the issue
– Including a personal experience that made you want to speak up on the issue
Be polite and respectful
Ask them what they believe should happen and why, and say it’s important to you to have a response to your questions
Ask them to do something – think about what will be most effective and make the biggest impact. You could ask them to
– Vote for or against a particular Bill
– Speak about the issue in Parliament
– Ask a question in Parliament
– Raise the issue with the relevant Minister or Shadow Minister or portfolio holder.
– Talk about the issue in the media.
- Finish the letter by saying that you look forward to receiving their reply.
- Provide your contact details – your first and last name, your address, telephone number, and email address.
Your MP could take up to a month to reply. If you have not had a reply by then telephone the office to ask if you will be receiving a response soon. Call again in a fortnight. Be persistent but polite.
Build a relationship with your MP through regular contact not just when things are wrong but also when they or their party does the right thing. If they support your concerns, offer to provide a positive photo opportunity for local media or your social media.
Make your correspondence stand out by sending a card/photograph with your letter or enclosing it in an eye-catching envelope.