Despite the outcry the government is not budging and not listening. We need to increase the pressure with our campaign so they must listen. We must ensure that the public support Paid Parental Leave (PPL) and the families who access it.
The next step in our campaign is to do whatever is needed to ensure that 47% of eligible families don’t lose out on Paid Parental Leave.
We need to make sure that every elected member of the government hears from the people who live and work in their communities. They need to feel the pressure so they can in turn lobby the Prime Minister and the Treasurer to reverse their decision. We know politicians care a lot about what voters in their seat think. We need every Liberal National politician to hear and understand that this proposal cannot go ahead.
How do I do this?
Firstly, how many people do you know who are affected by this decision – or potentially affected by the government’s decision? It can be a bit daunting speaking to a Member of Parliament (MP) about how you feel and asking them to act. It’s important that you get your point across. This is often easier if you have someone with you. It’s also easier if there are a few of you to decide on roles in the meeting, like one person taking notes while the other person is speaking. Of course if you want to go on your own, that’s fine too!
Ring your MP’s electorate office and ask for a meeting. Try and suggest a time when Parliament is not sitting, when you know the MP will be in town and have time to meet with constituents.
— To find out when Parliament is sitting, follow this link
— If you don’t know your MP, you can find out from the Australian Electoral Commission in a jiffy. Just follow this link.
Resist any attempt by the member's staff to arrange for a meeting with another person (e.g Media Officer or Electorate Officer) instead of the member themselves.
When you are confirming the meeting, make sure you know the details. Make sure they know who will be coming along with you (if you are bringing others). Also make sure you know how much time you will have with the MP, so you can plan how to use the time effectively. Once the meeting is confirmed – let us know. We want to make sure every MP gets at least one visit from someone from the Queensland Unions Paid Parental Leave campaign.
So – you got the meeting!
What to take to the meeting.
Take a copy of the Paid Parental Leave Factsheet, the petition, a pen, paper and a camera.
Plan your meeting. Be clear. What is your story?
Think of the points you are going to make, and write them down. Practice. It can be a bit daunting. The best way to overcome nerves is to practice beforehand. If you are going with another person/people, plan who is going to say what and when. Nominate one person to be the meeting note-taker. Maybe decide who is the person who should answer the questions? Plan these roles in advance of your meeting so you can get the most out of the meeting.
You might like to start with how the PPL budget decision affects you, your family and your community.
You may explain that this budget decision has unintended consequences. Businesses are likely to turn their back on schemes they currently fund, so the government will have to pick up the tab. Where are the savings? How does this decision stand alongside the original intention of encouraging women to be at home with their newborns as recommended by the World Health Organisation? Why has the government now turned its back on this direction?
Click here for the Queensland Unions PPL Factsheet
When you start the meeting, introduce yourselves, and say how you would like the meeting to be conducted.
You will have limited time to meet with your federal MP, so it is important that you use this time efficiently to get your message across.
“Hi, my name is Jodie, and today I have Annabelle, Rachel and Luke with me. We all have our own story to tell, we hope that you will first listen to us, and then we can answer questions and discuss at the end. Is that ok?”
Hopefully your MP will respect that you have taken the time to plan out your meeting to be thoughtful and clear.
Explain why you are there.
"We have requested an opportunity to meet with you today because we are extremely concerned about the decision of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to take away Paid Parental Leave from 47% of new mothers."
What are we asking for?
WE WANT: The MP to publicly declare their support for our campaign and the reversal of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey's budget decision on Paid Parental Leave. Furthermore, we would like them to send us copies of any correspondence or emails that are made to this effect.
Make sure you have a faithful record of what happens.
When you get the MP’s response, make sure you heard them correctly. Write it down and repeat their response back to them, so there is no uncertainty. They should understand you are going to share their response with others.
If they are in agreement with you, then get them to sign the petition!
Get a photo!
MP’s love getting photos with constituents. If they declare their support for our campaign to save Paid Parental Leave, get them to hold a sign saying they support PPL — or even a happy "thumbs up" photo.
Before you leave, be sure to leave them with a factsheet (download the factsheet here), or a letter from you that covers the main points you raised in your meeting. That way it is easier for them to stay on message when they talk to others about the issue. If you leave them with a letter, they will also have to write back to you.
- And lastly, remember to thank them for their time. You never know when you may need to see them again!
Once your meeting is over, make sure you share the experience with others.
Email or phone us and tell us how you went (use our feedback form, or email email@example.com or call (07) 3010 2555). Make sure we know you met with the MP, so we can track their response and share it with others who may also be meeting with them. AND…congrats, well done! This is how we build our campaign and keep up the pressure. Good job!
What else can I do?
Write a letter to your local LNP MP
If you can't get to a meeting, write a letter to your local MP telling them why Paid Parental Leave is so important and why you need their support in having this mean decision reversed.
To write a letter to your local member of parliament, you can use our special web tool here.
Write a letter to your local paper.
Let your community know about this important issue. Locals love hearing what their neighbours think. Tell them why the issue is important to you and why Tony Abbott needs to reverse this bad decision.
You may like to use our sample letter to get you started
You may like to drop a copy of your letter to the editor into your neighbours' mailboxes.
It is really important people understand the real paid parental leave story.
Let us know what you are doing.
Share your efforts and see what others are doing. Together we can make a difference and get this decision reversed.
Most importantly though – be yourself!
Have fun! Don’t be afraid to be loud and proud on this issue. Your kids are depending on you!
If you would like to talk to someone, call us on (07) 3010 2555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s show this government that this issue will continue to be a problem for them until they fix it. We want our fair PPL system restored.