The TasCOSS Advocacy Toolkit covers off on a range of lobbying activities you can engage in individually or on behalf of your organisation to influence members and political parties.
TasCOSS encourages you to participate by lobbying members (or candidates when an election is approaching) and political parties on the issues you or your organisation think are important.
Attend a forum
You can attend a forum held by various interest groups and organisations and raise your issues directly with the members in attendance (ask a question, engage in discussion or make a comment). Most of the members will be representing political parties so it is a good opportunity to influence not only the members attending but also the parties.
Media releases, letters to the editor and talkback radio
You can write a media release or letter to the editor addressed to your local newspaper about any issue you would like to raise. See the list of Media Contacts for details.
You can also contact local talkback radio programs to raise issues. The political parties and candidates take more notice of issues raised in letters to the media during an election campaign than they do at other times.
You can participate in social media commentary through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #politas or other current hashtags that may be related to elections or other campaigns.
Letters to candidates and parties
You can write a letter or an email to the political parties or the member in your electorate, or in any or all electorates, detailing your particular concerns and making recommendations for policies you would like to see introduced to the Parliament. Click here to see a Sample Letter.
You can also write to support other organisations’ campaigns.
Click here for a list of the Members of the House of Assembly.
How to write a letter to candidates/parties
Your letters to political parties or members do not need to be complicated — they can be as short as a page or a few paragraphs and do not need to be written in formal language. All you really need to do is:
Provide contact details.
Letters or emails should have a header or signature with your organisation’s contact details and your name or the name of a representative to contact in relation to the letter.
Introduce yourself and/or your organisation.
Give readers a brief outline of your or your organisation’s role. Additionally, if it is relevant, you can provide a short description of your organisation’s membership, location, size and staff/volunteer numbers.
Provide a brief summary of your key points and recommendations.
This only needs to be a few sentences long to summarise the key issues you are concerned about and the commitments you would like the parties or members to make in relation to those issues.
Discuss your issues of concern in more detail and make specific recommendations.
This is where you can explain in more detail your key issues and what you believe the parties or members can do, in response to those issues:
- Why they should address the issue,
- What specific services, extension to services, programs, initiatives and so on you think the State Government should fund to help address the issue; and
- Discuss your issues of concern in more detail and make specific recommendations.
Seek a written commitment to your recommendation.
Ask the parties or members for a reply with a statement of their position on the issue you raise. If a commitment is made in writing, you will be able to use that to follow up and continue to push for your issue to be addressed.
The impact of your lobbying will be stronger if you try to:
- Stay focused on your main point or on your organisation’s area of concern and expertise,
- Keep it clear - if your letter runs over a page, consider using dot points to make your recommendations stand out,
- Provide supporting details where possible - examples from your organisation’s experience can be particularly valuable as this adds a human face to the statistics,
- Prioritise your recommendations, listing the most important ones first; and
- Ask for a response.
You can see other How To's in our Advocacy section, including:
If you would like further advice or to talk over your lobbying plans, please feel free to contact the TasCOSS team on (03) 6231 0755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.