Electorate Office Visits

julianhill.jpgThe offices of your MP are open for anybody to visit - even without an appointment. You can take advantage of this to stage an impromptu meeting and by showing up with a small group. It is much harder for a representative’s staff to turn away a group than a single constituent.

Find out where your MP's offices are.

The official webpage for your MP will list the address of their local office. You can find those webpages easily through a simple Google search. You can find out who your local MP is, and which electorate you are in, by entering your suburb or postcode on the Australian Electoral Commission's website.

Plan a trip when the member is there.

Most electorate offices are open only during regular business hours, 9 am - 5 pm. Ideally, plan a time when you and several other people can show up together.

Remember that your MP will not always be in their electorate office as when Parliament is ‘sitting’, your MP will be in Canberra. You can check when Parliament is ‘sitting’ by reviewing the Australian Parliament’s sitting calendar.

It may be that you are unable to meet with your MP, particularly if they are a Minister. In this case ask to meet with an advisor. This can still be very effective.

Have a specific "ask".

Make sure you demand to know why a workforce of 97% women is not entitled to the professional wages that have been won in other educational sectors. Ask your MP why male-dominated fields with equivalent qualifications are typically paid 30% more.

Note that office sit-ins can backfire.

Be very thoughtful about how your visit looks. This tactic works best when you are protesting an issue that directly affects you and/or members of your group (e.g. funding equal pay for early educators). Being polite and respectful throughout is critical.

Advertise what you are doing.

Communicate on social media, and tell the local reporters you follow what is happening. Take and send pictures and videos with your group: “At my local member’s office with 5 other constituents to talk to her about professional pay for early educators. She refuses to meet with us and staff won’t tell us when she will come out. We’re waiting.”

Get the media involved.

If you are meeting with your MP, try to get local media to cover it. Alternatively, take a photo with your MP, which you can send to the media later. Further tips on engaging with the media can be found in our media section.

Article adapted from Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License.