How To – a guide to engaging with Parliament
There are plenty of ways you can have your say on the legislation currently being debated by MPs.
Make a submission
Before legislation passes into law, it is usually considered by a Parliamentary Select Committee, a smaller group of MPs who consider the details of a Bill with the help of submissions from the public.
Written submissions can be as short or long as you want. It is helpful to engage thoughtfully with the details of the actual Bill that you support or oppose. You may also indicate that you wish to follow-up your written submission with an oral submission where you speak directly to the committee in person.
GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A GOOD SUBMISSION:
(From the Parliament website)
Your submission must be relevant to the matter before the committee. A committee may decide not to receive a submission it considers not relevant.
Arrange your sentences and paragraphs in a logical order. Present a clear and logically developed argument. A submission that jumps from one issue to another and back again or jumbles unrelated issues together may confuse members and reduce its impact.
Be simple and direct. Do not write more than is necessary. An overly long submission may prove too long for members to consider fully. They want to know what you think and the evidence or arguments you have that support your view.
Be accurate and complete. Include all relevant information. It will only confuse the committee if, in your submission, you refer to evidence or information that is not included. Make sure your facts are correct. An error-ridden submission will greatly reduce its impact and credibility.
Restate your recommendations in a conclusion at the end of the submission or an executive summary at the beginning. Consider listing your submission’s recommendations or summing up its main points.
Meet with your local MP
Face to face communication is a fantastic way to let an MP know what you think about a particular issue or piece of legislation.
Your local MP has a responsibility to remain available to their constituents, so it is quite easy to make an appointment to see them, just contact their electorate office (using the phone or email details from the list linked below) and say that you live in the electorate, and you’d like to meet with the MP to talk about your views/their votes.
Write to an MP
You can write an email or post a letter to any MP to give your views on any issue. Postage to an MP at Parliament is free.
When writing, keep in mind that MPs have to get through a lot of correspondence, so make sure you clearly state the purpose of your letter, make your points succinctly, and provide supporting evidence where appropriate.
Form letters are not very effective, it’s much better to write in your own words.
Click here for a full list of MPs. Click a name to find their email address.
Post letters to:
Private Bag 18888