There are three really effective things we're asking you to do, wherever you may live, that will bring the message home to any MP:
- Getting a group of people together in your faith community and each writing a letter to them
- Meeting them in person and asking them for what you want
- Putting up a banner outside your place of worship.
1. Writing letters to your MP as a group
The best way to do this is to find a few others in your faith community and spend half an hour or and hour together over a cup of tea each writing your own letter to your MP.
We have a very handy guide to writing to your MP here. The letter-writing guide gives ideas for sharing your letter on social media and how to respond if you receive no reply or a reply that doesn't address your concerns.
Tell them you support the open letter that senior faith leaders sent to the Prime Minister about the climate in October 2022.
Please ask your MP to support one or more of the things that were listed in the open letter
You may wish to emphasise one or more of these in particular. The first two are probably the most crucial, but there are good reasons to emphasise others too.
- Stop approving new coal and gas projects (for tips on this point, see https://www.arrcc.org.au/epbc_act)
- End public subsidies for coal and gas projects
- Actively participate in creating a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to phase out fossil fuels and support a just transition.
- Fully respect First Nations peoples' rights to protect Country
- Re-start contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund
- Help workers in extractive industries prosper with more sustainable jobs
Let them know the faith community you’re part of
Let your MP know your faith (Christian, Buddhist etc) and if you’re involved with a specific place of worship please mention that you go there.
Say why action on the climate is important to you and your faith
In one or two sentences you could tell them why this matters to you in terms of your faith. Is it loving your neighbour? Protecting Creation? Restoring God’s balance? Acting with compassion for all sentient beings?
2. Meeting your MP
Nothing gets the message across to an elected representative quite like a face-to-face meeting. And when people of faith meet with an MP it can both carry a strong moral message and show them that mainstream opinion in their electorate is behind serious climate action.
The good news is that you don't need experience in meeting an MP or to be any kind of expert on climate policy in order to do it. We can provide both written guides and training via Zoom. We can also help you find other people of faith in your electorate to form a delegation, which can be anywhere from just two people up to about six in number.
Here's how to go about it:
- Read our general guide to meeting your MP
- Read either the guide to meeting a Labor MP or for meeting a Coalition MP, depending on your situation
Contact us and ask for help finding other people of faith in your area
- We then help you find those people and arrange a training session for your delegation
What are we trying to achieve by meeting MPs?
Our aim is to end up with both major parties dedicated to serious climate action. We are one voice among many but there is real strength in people of faith speaking with one voice and we can show an MP that passion for climate action runs a lot deeper than the 'usual suspects'.
Where is Labor right now?
At the moment we think it is safe to assume that nearly all Labor MPs these days are as concerned about the climate crisis and their kids as we are. The reason that they tend to hold back from taking sufficiently bold action isn’t a lack of caring, but a political assessment that it would be too risky to go further than they already are. Our job is to show them that there is more political room to move than they might think.
What about the Coalition?
Views within the Liberal and National party rooms vary considerably when it comes to the climate. As a whole the Liberals have not learned the lesson of the last federal election (or, arguably, the lessons from the Victorian and NSW elections since then). Since the election, we’ve heard that the view from a number of Liberal MPs has been that the climate is not an issue they’re hearing much about from their constituents. Their current leader, Peter Dutton, has doubled down on prosecuting an Abbott-style climate war on the question of cost of living, arguing (very questionably) that climate action will drive energy bills up.
We need the Coalition to be competing to show that they have the strongest climate policy and to offer bi-partisan support for bold action. This is likely to take a while.
Our job is to show them that the mainstream wants serious action and that they could be left behind if they don’t move.
3. Putting up a banner outside your place of worship
Nothing quite says it like a banner out the front. Your MP will notice. Members of the public will too. You should get interest on social media and maybe even in the media too. Everything you need to know is on our banners page.
What was the open letter to the Prime Minister?
On October 13th 2022 more than 100 faith leaders published an open letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese calling for an end to new coal and gas projects as well as subsidies to those industries, among other climate justice 'asks'. On the same day, there were Multi faith Services in support of that letter across Australia and in the Pacific. There was considerable media coverage across the country.
It's highly significant that the open letter was signed by many of the most senior faith leaders across Australia and the Pacific, as well as some prominent First Nations leaders. So that such an historic letter makes the most impact possible, let's make sure that federal MPs are made aware of it through people of faith in their own electorates.
The faith leaders who signed come from both Australia and the Pacific and include many of the most senior religious leaders in the country.
The letter and the multi faith services that supported it received extensive media coverage
The full list of coverage can be found here.
Faiths 4 Climate Justice, St John's Cathedral, Brisbane. Photo credit: Peter Branjerdporn.
Faiths 4 Climate Justice, St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. Photo credit: Julian Meehan.