WHAT IS LOBBYING?
Lobbying is about taking action to try and persuade politicians and/or people in positions of power or influence to act in a certain way. Lobbying can also mean making the community aware of problems. It is about changing people’s attitudes, exposing the ineffectiveness or injustice of existing laws and practices and suggesting how they could be changed.
Lobbying can take many forms:
* sending letters, faxes and emails to politicians, leaders of commerce or education.
* talk-back radio.
* speaking to community groups, schools, or institutions.
* being part of a delegation to visit Parliamentarians or interviewing them on your own if you wish.
* writing articles and letters to the newspapers–including local free newspapers, rural press, industry newsletters, and school magazines.
* sending submissions to Government inquiries.
Lobbying is a democratic process. It is every citizen’s right to express an opinion and to have the freedom to try to bring about change through legitimate means.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Just be able to understand information. Background research and information should be available. It’s sometimes hard work but commitment and enthusiasm go a long way.
A recent survey studied elected officials and what most influences their opinions. The results are summarised here:
a) Media, community, highest influence.
b) Direct approach, timely accurate data, most effective influencing tools.
c) Understanding Government, offering solutions, most positive ways to influence.
d) The most negative approach was pushy, aggressive approach with lack of understanding of Government.
WEL takes these findings seriously as we lobby Governments. WEL is very good at thinking sideways with solutions – so please send us your ideas.
WEL encourages you to send messages to members of Parliament, both Federal Members and Senators, and, if the matter is a State matter, to State Members of the Legislature Assembly (MLA) or the Legislative Council (MLC).
WEL Victoria also makes appointments to see Members in their electorate offices when possible. If you are able to join a delegation for any visit, please let us know via our Contact Us page.
We may also suggest messages to send to Local Government, business leaders and others.
WEL has these strategies to achieve our aims:
a) Co-operation with other groups on particular issues.
b) Education and research.
c) Letters to the media and TV appearances.
d) Submissions to Government Commissions.