Contact your local MP
NOFASD Australia would like to encourage its network to lobby members of parliament for improvements in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of FASD in Australia.
We often get asked for tips on how to contact your local MP to lobby for change, so we hope you find this resource useful. Please keep us updated on your efforts and let us know if we can assist in any way.
Remember, it is the job of your local MP to represent the interests of everyone in your electorate in the parliament. It is important that you let your voices be heard so that your local MP can represent your concerns. Your stories of living with FASD on a daily basis are a particularly powerful advocacy tool and should be brought to the fore.
Who should I contact?
The Hon Greg Hunt MP is the federal Minister for Health. Contact Mr Hunt
Contact details for your local MP can be found on the Parliament of Australia website. Contacting and meeting your local MP raises awareness and the more politicians on board the better.
You may also wish to contact your local representative at the state or territory government level. FASD is both a federal and state/ territory issue. Please refer to the relevant government website for contact details.
What should I include in an email or letter to my local MP?
- Explain a little bit about FASD.
- Introduce yourself and explain your personal experience of living with FASD. Include both positives and negatives.
- Highlight your main issues of concern and ask your local MP to champion a particular issue for you. Take a look at the following resources for some ideas:
- The ‘Things you can ask your local MP to do’ section below.
- The Call to Action documents from the recent Australasian FASD conference and preconference event for parents and carers. Both these documents highlight the key issues and are available on the Policy and Advocacy homepage of this website.
Note: All federal MPs and Senators should have received a copy of the Call to Action from Australian Parents – Our Common Voice in December 2013.
- You may wish to request a face-to-face meeting with your local MP.
To help kick start your letter writing we have drafted a sample letter. Please adapt the letter to your personal situation as per the sections highlighted in red.
Things you can ask your local MP to do:
Politicians will always want to know what it is that you want them to do for you. Here are some ideas:
- Raise awareness in your local community about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Lobby for the formal recognition of FASD as a disability by including it on the national register of disabilities.
- Improve access to services. Talk to your local MP about the services that work for you and the services that you find are lacking in your area. Highlight to your local MP that investment in social services will reduce the cost burden on both your family and the community in the long run.
- Training for all education professionals in the local area to ensure better supports for children living with FASD.
- Support the Commonwealth National FASD Action Plan announced in August 2013 and push for its implementation. Information about the National FASD Action Plan is available here.
- Support the NDIS and monitor its progress to ensure that individuals with FASD are able to access services through the NDIS.
- Lobby for FASD specific diagnostic services in your state or territory.
- Lobby their party (if they have a party) to support initiatives aimed at the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD.
It is important to follow-up with your local MP. If you do not receive a response to your letter within one month, email or phone your local electorate office. You will most likely speak to a personal assistant or electorate officer in the first instance. You can request a meeting with your local MP and if they are unavailable you should be able to request a meeting with one of their policy advisors.
How can I prepare for a face-to-face meeting with my local MP?
- Find out how much time you will have to ensure you cover the issues that are most important to you.
- Take some time to introduce yourself and to talk about your personal story.
- Take a short list of things you would like your local MP to do (see the ‘Things you can ask your local MP to do’ section above). Focus on what you are most passionate about.
- Take a copy of the Call to Action documents from the recent Australasian FASD conference and preconference event for parents and carers.
- You may wish to print off some information about FASD from the NOFASD Australia website or request some brochures from us prior to your meeting.
- Agree a follow-up process. You may request to meet with your local MP again to discuss progress or request an email or letter to update you on the progress of your requests and issues discussed.