Lismore event leader Carol Shipard details the brilliant local Dear Kevin Project and shares a great guide on how to get your own letter writing campaign underway.
On March 15 2021 around 700 women and their allies turned out to the Lismore March4Justice, despite the pouring rain. Now the team are looking for what’s next and putting pen to paper.
The Dear Kevin Project
Lismore locals all know Kevin. Far more than just a grinning photo on the free notepad that is shoved through our mailboxes every time an election rolls around, Mr Kevin Hogan is our local Member of Parliament and the National Party Representative for Page and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Right now, Lismore Marchers are furiously writing letters to Kevin.
Letters from constituents in his electorate who have had enough.
Letters that will be delivered personally to the Lismore electoral office each and every day until the Budget is released in May.
Letters that ask that the National March4Justice demands need to be met.
Letters that tell Kevin exactly what we need/want/expect from him as our voice in parliament.
Letters that keep the pressure on the government for systemic, cultural and political change.
Letters that call for an end to the issues of sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, corruption, dangerous workplace cultures and lack of equality in politics and the community at large.
Letters that request adequate funding for local services and programs that protect, educate and rehabilitate survivors, and offenders.
Letters that point out that gender equity in politics doesn’t give jobs to mediocre female politicians; it takes jobs away from mediocre male politicians.
Letters that remind Kevin that all 600 voters from the Lismore Region who marched and rallied in the pouring rain for three hours are still here; we’re still outraged and we still demand change. We are not going away.
Anyone in the Lismore Region who would like help composing or scribing a letter can meet us at the Lismore Farmers’ Market Saturday May 1 between 9 and 11.30am.
Get your local letter writing campaign underway
Let’s take this national.
Find out who your local MP is by googling them.
Choose your notepaper and write your name, address and the date in the top left corner.
Skip a line and add your greeting – Dear Sir/Madam/Joe Bloggs – whatever you feel comfortable with.
Skip another line and write a topic line. This will probably include the words 2021 Federal Budget.
Start with a clear statement of purpose: For example:
“I am writing to ask you to support…”
Tell Joe Bloggs why this is important to you.
Personalise your letter: when possible with information on how the issue affects you, your family, your business, or people around you. This can be persuasive and help your MP understand your position.
Don’t be afraid to take a firm position, but remain polite and courteous. Politicians are human too and we all know you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Request a meeting (you probably won’t get one) and ask for a response to your letter: while the response will usually be a form letter, written and authorised by their political party, you’ll know you’ve made an impact. A well-written letter can be instrumental in prompting an MP to take action behind the public scenes to inform and potentially change their political party’s position.
Sign your letter, address an envelope and hand deliver or mail it to your local Federal MP. You could send an email, or both, which is generally accepted to be more effective.
REMEMBER: If we change things for women, we change them for all Australians.
Carol Shipard is the team leader for Lismore, organised the Lismore March4Justice event and continues to lead activism in the Northern New South Wales community.