Invite your MP to an event
Inviting your MP to an event can help to demonstrate how the low rate of Newstart Allowance and other related income support payments affect people in your local community. Meeting face-to-face with people who care about or are affected by this issue helps to show why Newstart should be increased. The passion you have in setting up your event can demonstrate to your MP how much people care about this issue.
For you, a visit by your MP will provide an opportunity to:
- Strengthen your relationship with your MP
- Raise the profile of your event by having a local dignitary
- Get photos and media coverage
- Have your MP publicly demonstrate their support for the issue
Things to consider
- Size – larger events can take more planning and resources
- Time and location
- Who will help – do you need volunteers or donations to help with your event?
- Promotion – how will you let people know about your event?
- Speakers – if you want to connect with a school or other organisation, you need to do this as early as possible.
Decide what role your MP will be invited to take
What do you want your MP to do at your event? Common requests include asking your MP to make a speech about the issue, join a discussion panel, present awards to volunteers working on the issue and/or launch a new initiative.
Talk to your MP’s staff
Don’t be disappointed if an advisor is sent in the place of your MP. The advisor may become a very useful ally if you build a relationship with them.
Give plenty of advance notice about your event as MPs are often busy and away from their electorate (the may be in Canberra to attend Federal Parliament). The first step is to ring your MP’s office, explain that you’d like to invite your MP to your event and ask about their availability on the proposed date. Then follow up with a written request with all of the appropriate details:
- Aim of the event and activities planned
- Date/time, location, duration, directions to the event
- Estimated number of attendees and details of other guests invited
- Details of a designated contact at your end
- Information about your group hosting the event
Invite local media and issue a pre-event media release
MPs welcome publicity, especially in their own constituency, but ask your MP if they are happy to have the media attend.
The best way to let media know of your event is by sending them a media release via email, with a follow-up phone call. Contact details for your local newspaper can be found in the print version of the paper (usually on the inside first page). Inviting your local MP to an event is a good way to help attract the newspaper.
On the day of the event
Meet and greet your MP
Schedule a ‘meet and greet’ of your MP at an appropriate time (e.g. before the official start of the event if they are opening it) and allow time for introductions. Make sure they know the order of the event and where they slot in.
Introduce your MP
Give a brief explanation of why he or she is there. It may also be helpful to announce whether or not there will be a question and answer session.
Take lots of photos at the event
Organise for someone at the event to take good quality photos. These can be used for your own communications and for the media. Your MP’s staff may also take photos for their own communications. When taking photos that include members of the public, be mindful of asking their permission, especially if children are present. It’s a good idea to ask before you take the photo and explain how you would like to use it. You may also like to record some quotes from attendees at your event.
After the event
Consider sending a post-event media release
Local media thrive on stories of community events and activities. Send photos and a media release with details of what happened at the event, who was there, what your MP and others said, and be sure to highlight key information about the issue.
Thank your MP
Send a letter or card to your MP, thanking them for their participation. Include any follow-up information you may have promised them.
Let us know what happened
We want to know if you lobby your MP. If your MP responds or takes action, please tell us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help us to track MPs’ positions and target them better, and you can also help to inspire others!