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Talk to your MP

Resources for advocacy

Your member of parliament works for you. If you would like action to be taken on housing and homelessness, there are multiple ways to raise your concerns, address questions, and request actions for change.

The information on this page can be useful for anyone — including members of the public, workers in the specialist homelessness sector, and people with lived experience of homelessness.

Find your MP

If you don’t know your MP or your federal electorate, you can look them up on the Australian Electoral Commission website.

Write to your MP

Writing to your MP is a simple but effective way of raising your concerns about homelessness and housing. Follow these steps to create a powerful letter to your MP.

Find the contact details for your MP and research their involvement and interest with the issue you would like to raise.

Keep your letter short and concise by preparing three to five key points. Include facts and figures where possible, and signpost to further reading or local coverage of the issue.

Be polite and adapt your tone to the person you are addressing. For example,
if your MP is interested in creating jobs, you can focus on why social housing is
good for the economy.

Request that your MP take a specific action. This could include making a speech or public statement, voting on a bill being considered, talking about the issue with colleagues and ministers, attending events, speaking to the media, and more.

Request a reply and include your contact details. If you haven’t received a reply within a month, you can follow up with a phone call.

Writing to your MP checklist / Have you…

used the correct title for your MP? Find out
how to address Senators and Members

stated a clear purpose in the opening

kept your letter to one to two pages?

included the date at the top of your letter, and your contact details to receive a reply?

Call your MP

Anyone can make a call to their MP, and a little bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to achieving your advocacy goals.

Find the contact details for your MP and research their involvement and interest with the issue you would like to raise.

Preparation is key. Before you call, write down one or two key points that you would like to raise, understanding that you likely will have no longer than five minutes on the phone call.

Request a specific action that you would like the MP to take. This could include making a speech or public statement, voting on a bill being considered, talking about the issue with colleagues and ministers, attending events, speaking to the media, and more.

The person taking the call is likely to be an electorate officer or staff member. You should introduce yourself, the reason why you are calling, and what you would like the MP to do.

It may be useful to take notes during your call, especially if any commitments are made or any actions to follow up on certain issues are promised.

Follow up your phone call with an email thanking the MP and their staff member for their time, and reiterate any commitments made on the call. You can follow up this email later if needed or with additional resources and further reading.

Calling your MP tips / Remember to…

introduce yourself, noting that you live in the electorate

be polite, respectful, and concise — but don’t worry if you slip up, you are a member of the public discussing your concerns

briefly explain the problem and the specific action you would like the MP to take

ask for their support or commitment to take an action at the end of the call.

Meet with your MP

Whether you work with an organisation or you are an individual, arranging a meeting with your MP can be highly effective in putting homelessness and housing on the agenda. It can be quite a challenge to organise, but being persistent pays off.

Before the meeting /

Research your MP and check records of the issues in which they have expressed an interest.

Make initial contact in writing (email or letter) including a brief outline of why you want to meet and what you want to discuss. If you haven’t heard back in ten days, follow up politely by phone.

Be aware of the agenda and language currently being used by Government and other political parties, and tailor your approach and tone to be in-tune with the person you are lobbying.

About a week before your meeting, send through briefing material from a trusted source, and also take the material with you and hand it to the MP in the meeting.

Get prepared to answer questions — make a note of any anticipated questions and your responses.

During the meeting /

If possible, bring someone to take notes so that action points and observations are recorded without interrupting the discussion.

MPs aren’t necessarily experts on homelessness, so present points to help them to understand the issues. Stay concise in your message, as you won’t have time to explain every complexity.

Provide facts about the rates of homelessness and housing affordability in your MP’s electorate, including how building more social housing would create both safe homes and jobs.

Use the Everybody’s Home homelessness heat maps to find the figures relating to your electorate.

Storytelling can be extremely impactful. If you have personal experiences of homelessness and you are willing to share, telling your story may help to strengthen your discussion.

Be positive in your approach, remembering that you are there to shape government policy rather than criticise it.

After the meeting /

In the weeks after the meeting, follow up with the MP on any commitments or action points made.

Write about your experience in your website, newsletter, social media, or other communications.

Give yourself a huge congratulations on taking action to put homelessness and housing firmly on the political agenda!

Meeting with your MP tips / Remember to…

thank the MP for their time, confirm any action points you have agreed upon, and ask them to
keep you informed of progress.

note the name and contact details of the staff member who you will be following up with (this is likely to be someone who works for your MP, rather than the MP directly)

invite the MP to visit your organisation’s
homelessness service to meet workers and/or clients, or another relevant event.

Boost your advocacy efforts

If you are unsure of what to discuss with your MP directly, or you want to achieve even more with your advocacy efforts, the Everybody’s Home campaign is a great way to get involved with current actions.

Take action to end homelessness, including writing to MPs and ministers, with the Everybody’s Home campaign today.

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