As part of the Year of Action, all around the world people of faith will be putting pressure on decision-makers to say where they stand in relation to our demands. In Australia we will concentrate on our federal representatives. With a federal election coming, now is the time to ask our own local federal MPs to make a public commitment as to where they stand on these.
Start by seeking a meeting
ARRCC would very much like to see as many groups as possible to meet with their local MPs face-to-face, and to ask them to commit in public where they stand in relation to our demands. Meeting online is also fine. Check whether or not another group in your electorate is also meeting with the MP and collaborate with them. (Tejopala and Thea are fairly familiar with which organisations are also doing this work.)
If you have met with your MP before, it would still be good to meet them again. MP meetings are about building a relationship and relationships take time to build. It's when you build trust and mutual respect that you are more likely to shift your MP's views. Reward them with praise for advocating quietly with their parliamentary colleagues, and with more praise again if they advocate publicly for a shift in their Party's policies.
If they belong to one of the two major Parties, respectfully let them know that their Party's position falls short of what we seek.* Ideally, use language that most resonates with their world view. St John’s Cathedral has done extensive research into how to talk with people with more “conservative” values. They have produced this guide to communicating about the climate. Emphasise the opportunities for job-creation, the health, justice and economic benefits of a shift away from fossil fuels, and the enormous costs of not acting on climate.
Your MP may not give you a meeting, or they may refuse to publicly support any of our demands. The reality is that a private assurance of their agreement on certain points is of limited value. In these situations, we increase the pressure.
* Note that ARRCC will have a 'scorecard' for the major Parties, but it is more for your own information and needs to be used prudently. We strongly recommend that you say 'in our assessment your Party could do much better' rather than 'our scorecard rates your Party poorly'. ARRCC would like to see each Party do better over time until, ultimately, both major Parties are actively committed to policies of climate justice.
Faith-based vigils outside MPs' offices
For those MPs who fall short of publicly backing our demands, we hold public faith-based vigils outside their offices. We will provide templates for doing this shortly on this page. Time to get creative! If they continue to refuse to publicly commit to them we might choose to hold a second or a third vigil, if you want to. Do invite the local media to cover the story. We will provide a guide to this shortly.
Signs outside places of worship
We as local faith communities can increase pressure on an MP by putting up signs outside our places of worship in the electorate demanding bold climate action. You can order your signs here.
ARRCC delegation in Geelong meeting with Libby Coker MP
What ARRCC is asking MPs to commit to
There are five things we’re asking all MPs to publicly commit to:
Support for a sustainable, just recovery from COVID-19 that includes millions of Green Jobs. To this end ARRCC is calling for post-COVID recovery investment to be spent on boosting renewable energy and low carbon industries rather than funding a “gas-led recovery”. We are crucially also calling on the Australian Government to support an orderly, planned, just transition for communities currently dependent on the coal and gas industries.
At least two-thirds reduction in Australia’s emissions by 2030
We want the Government to align Australia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (targets) to this goal before the climate talks in Glasgow. *
Equity / making polluters and rich countries pay for damages that have been done and support people who have been the most impacted. ARRCC is calling on the Australian Government to restart substantial finance for the UN Green Climate Fund, additional to the aid budget.
No new fossil fuels or deforestation
No new fossil fuel infrastructure or exploration, no more deforestation, no more habitat or biodiversity loss.
- Rapid transition to 100% renewables away from fossil fuels.
How to effective meetings with MPs
Here is a guide to holding an effective meeting with your MP. If you would like a more detailed guide to tackling specific types of MPs as well as our scorecard for rating MPs please contact Tejopala on [email protected]