This guide is designed to help you through the steps to making a meeting with your NSW State MP, and talking to them about the current proposals for converstion therapy legislation in.
This site is supporting the major faith networks, including Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, ACC, and many other Christian denominations.
It helps us coordinate our efforts if we know who is contacting MPs. As you organise and have your meeting, please let us know how you are going, and if we can help in any way.
Email us at email@example.com
The overall purpose of this meeting is to build a positive connection with your local State MP, and to make them aware of the issues around the recent conversion therapy proposals and that a large number of members of their electorate are concerned about them.
If your MP is a Labor member, then it is also important to remind them of the promises Labor made before the election and ask them to keep those promises.
This handout is designed to be printed and taken with you to meet with any MP, but especially Labor MPs.
You do not have to have all the facts or answers. Many faith leaders and advocates are meeting with MPs to discuss the issues in detail and answer their questions.
The purpose of your meeting is to show your MP that people in their electorate know about the issue, are concerned, and are likely to have their vote affected by it.
Look up your MP in the form below. Take particular note of what political party they are part of. The Labor Party is in Government, so we need to have different messages to Labor MPs than other parties.
Please note if your MP is also a Minister then he/she might have a busier schedule. It may be harder to get a meeting. You might need to be more flexible with time.
Next, identify potential attendees to invite to the meeting with your local MP. A suitable group size is 3-6 people, along with the MP.
People who could be invited to the meeting include:
Local faith leaders, like church ministers, represent their communities. They can speak about the size of their community and how important this issue is to their community. An MP should take a meeting with a faith leader or group of leaders seriously. However, there can be skepticism as to whether a leader truly represents their community’s views on this issue, so a meeting is even more effective if other community members are included.
Attendees would need to be able to attend a meeting during daytime hours. This might limit your options to at-home parents, part time workers, or those who work locally or from home. Mothers are great spokespeople for their families, and primary carers speaking passionately about their concerns for their children is powerful.
Discuss the possibility of the meeting with your potential attendees. You may wish to share resources like the flyer and talking points to brief those you’d like to invite to the meeting.
Find out their availabilities before contacting your MP to schedule a time that accommodates people’s schedules.
If you have not met with your MP previously or do not have an existing relationship with them, then you may wish to send a more formal email asking for a meeting.
You can find a suggested template letter here.
Follow up the email three days later with a phone call if you have not received a response from your MP.
The Government have said they want to bring the legislation before Parliament by November 2023, and will be writing the legislation in October. A meeting in August or September will be the most effective, but a conversation in October or early November will also have an impact.
When meeting with a Labor MP, this two-page outline will be the most valuable resource to give them and talk through. Print this to take with you, and leave a copy with your MP. This two-page document is best printed double sided.
We are constantly developing more resources. As you prepare for your meeting, check back with this site to see what is available
When your meeting has a number of people attending, it is easy for one person to do all the talking, or for things to be missed because one person thinks another is going to do it. It can help to take a few minutes before the meeting to identify what things need to happen in the meeting and allocate one person to ensuring they happen.
Suggested roles to allocate include:
Remember to speak clearly, politely, and audibly and maintain good eye contact. They too are a child of God and worthy of respect and honour despite any differences of opinion you may have with them.
Start by introducing yourselves and thanking your MP for taking the time to meet with you. Make sure they know who everyone is and understand who you represent. Explain what organisations you are from, where they are, and how many people are members. Also tell them what schools you are connected to, where they are, and approximately how many students attend.
Keep to the talking points and the issue that is the purpose of the meeting. MPs have limited time, and we can respect them by keeping to the point. Introducing other issues can confuse the conversation and leave the MP unclear as to what we are talking about.
It is likely that you will only have a short amount of time to discuss your issue, so it is important to be clear and concise. As a rule, 30 minutes is a common appointment length, but this should always be clarified so that best use is made of whatever available time you have. Make sure you finish on time. If possible, aim to finish with five minutes to space pointing out that you want to give them a chance to have a break before their next meeting – they will appreciate it.
Listen to how your MP responds to what you are saying and tailor your message accordingly. Your MP might be completely new to this issue, so ask if they have any questions and help them understand the issue. Don’t be afraid of saying you do not know the answer to the question. You are not there to be an expert, but a concerned member of their electorate.
In addition to how much they understand about the issue, you also need to know what you MP thinks about it. This will help you to respond to any questions or misconceptions they may have. Government MPs will have been given a series of ‘talking points’ or answers to common questions. If you get a response to a question you raise, take a moment to think if they actually answered the question you asked. If not, maybe ask it again, politely.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a commitment, and don’t try to be indirect. Politicians are used to being asked what they think and what they are going to do, and they will appreciate clear concise requests.
If the MP is meeting with you as a representative of a larger community of faith, it is important that you make the communication channel 2-way, and commit to telling your community what the outcomes of the meeting were. This way the MP will know that they have an opportunity to speak (through you) with a large part of their electorate.
If the MP does give supportive commitments, one option is to take a photo with your group and the MP. This photo can be shared on social media with some text thanking the MP for the meeting and their support for freedom of religion (if they gave any).
Some people might feel uncomfortable sharing a photo of a politician, because it might be considered acting in a partisan way. However, the purpose of the sharing is not about promoting a politician, but documenting the commitment that they made so that they can be held to it, and thanking them for their support. Publicly thanking people is a great way of encouraging them, and politicians are no different.
An email is ok, but the way that correspondence is handled by MPs offices means that a more formal letter will generally be treated more seriously. We suggest:
When writing the letter”
If you have committed to communicating back to your commuity about the outcomes of the meeting, it is important to do so. If the MP has made some commitments, it is important to thank them for those commitments, and allow your community to know of them. It can also help to let the MP know that you have communicated back. For instance, if you use a newsletter to give an update on the conversation, you could send a copy to the MP’s office. If you took a photo, post it on social media and tag the MP so they can see it too.