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The Next Step

The petition has been handed over to Mr Russell Broadbent, Federal Member for McMillan (Liberal) and Ms Anna Burke, Federal Member for Chisholm (Labor).

By now, they will have handed it over to the Petitions Committee, who will check each page (all 850 of them!) and do a final count of the signatures. When it has been given the thumbs up, they will give it back to Mr Broadbent and he’ll present it in Parliament. After it’s presented, it will be in the hands of The Minister for Immigration: Peter Dutton.

There are only certain times when the petition can be presented. I know that Mr Broadbent will be waiting for the opportune moment so I can’t tell you a date just yet.

Now, Peter Dutton has 90 days to respond! In the meantime, there are some things we can do to make sure this petition gets the attention it deserves.

Make your MP work for you. This information is from the Oxfam website it’s what I used when I first contacted my MP, Anna Burke, to ask her for some advice about this project. And look how far it got me!

  • Your Member of Parliament is your connection to Canberra, so get them working on the issues you care about.

  • Your local MP relies on your support, and the support of others within your electorate, to keep their job. This means your views and your vote count.

  • You don’t have to be an expert on an issue to want to have a say. The simple fact that you care about an issue is a good enough reason to contact a politician.

  • Politicians know that for every person who takes the time to raise an issue with them, there are many more people who feel the same way. So every time you contact your MP about something important to you, you play a part in shaping the way they think.

In regards to The Welcome Petition, here are some basic steps to follow:

You can write your MP an email, post them a letter, call their office or all of the above!

PURPOSE – why you’re writing and what you want from them.

Your purpose is to tell them that you signed The Welcome Petition because (eg: you care about the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers – put you own reason down) … and when it’s read out in Parliament, you would like your MP to … (eg: let the Immigration Minister know that people in their electorate are interested to see the outcome of this petition…). See here for some more examples of what your MP can do for you and keep it linked to the petition and the issue of asylum seekers and refugees.

If you’re writing to them, here’s how to set it out:

1. In the case of letters, set out the name and address of the MP in the top left hand corner. This is not necessary in the case of emails. An MP’s name should be stated in the address as follows: ‘Mr/ Mrs/Ms/Dr First Name Last Name MP’.

Start your letter as follows: ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr Last Name’.

2. Use your own words. Keep it short and simple. Tell them why you’re writing (see purpose above). Then tell them what you want them to do. I encourage you to write your own as I’ve spoken to enough MPs to know that they hate template letters, which is why I haven't included one here.

It can be useful to:

  • Include relevant facts and figures

  • Refer to a recent news item about the issue

  • Highlight a local connection to the issue

  • Include a personal experience that made you want to speak up on the issue

3. Include your contact details.

4. Email it through and post it too if you like. Remember, they can ignore an email but they can’t ignore something like this!

5. After two weeks (and this is why we need to get cracking, there’s not much time!) give them a call to follow up if you haven’t heard anything already.

Send me an email through the Contacts page if you have any questions! Thanks in advance for doing this, when this is all over, and hopefully it will be soon, you can look back and think of what you did to help people in need.

Write to your MP asap, there’s not much time! “If not me, who? If not now, when?” – Emma Watson.

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