Option one: meeting them in person
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.
Option two: writing a letter
If you can't meet your MP in person, 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
- 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?
ADD ONE OR MORE OF THESE WHEN WRITING TO A LABOR MP
These ideas will be relevant also for Independent MPs.
The new government has made a good start.
Please ask your MP to pass on your thanks for the deal they have done with the crossbench over the Safeguard Mechanism, the new National Net Zero Authority to manage the economic transition, and the start they the government has made on reducing the amount of public money going to the coal and gas industries by collecting $2.4 billion more in Petrol Resource Rent Tax.
However, we need the Government to find a way to stop all new coal and gas projects.
We recognise that this won’t be at all easy politically but it is what is needed. The Government needs to work out how to make this possible. An Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (Climate Trigger) Bill is currently under active consideration, to add a 'climate trigger' to the nine other designated triggers for a project potentially being ruled out under the EPBC Act. This would help, without being the full answer. See more on a proposed 'climate trigger' here.
We need a line in the sand now when it comes to public money for the coal and gas industries.
Subsidies and all other forms of public money for these industries need to stop. This includes the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme which is not a direct subsidy but is still a lot of public money. This at least can and must be done now.
There is a real chance to create jobs in regional Australia
It is good to see that the Labor Government recognises that Australia’s abundant sun and wind provide countless opportunities to create jobs in the regions, so no-one is left behind.
The government does not need to be so cautious.
In the 2022 election the climate ranked as the number one voting issue according to the ABC’s Vote Compass poll of more than one million people. You personally may know a number of everyday people of faith or even faith leaders who would illustrate this point. You may want to mention the open letter to the Prime Minister from senior faith leaders. It is now clear that the Coalition cannot be re-elected until it becomes a lot stronger on the climate. Labor should feel safe to act more boldly.
The government needs to listen to our neighbours in the Pacific.
This letter has been signed by senior faith leaders from across the Pacific and really only echoes what Pacific leaders said earlier this year at the Pacific Islands Forum - Australia needs to rule out new coal and gas and to stop subsidising those industries.
ADD ONE OR MORE OF THESE WHEN WRITING TO A COALITION MP
We need the Coalition to lift its ambition on the climate
This is a crisis and we need the Coalition to take it seriously. This isn’t a fringe or a ‘left’ issue. It’s mainstream.
The Coalition is being left behind, in part because of their position on this issue. If the Coalition doesn’t get into the game, it will leave the business of crafting policy solutions to those on the 'Left'. If the Coalition wants serious conservative policies to prevail, they need to come up with serious conservative policies for this overwhelmingly important issue that isn’t going away. The country needs serious conservative leadership on this issue.
The election made it clear that people everywhere want climate action.
- It was the number one issue for voters according to the ABC’s Vote Compass of more than 1.5 million voters.
The largest ever climate poll in Australia, taken by the Australian Conservation Foundation before the 2022 federal election, showed that a majority of people in every federal electorate believed the economy will become stronger by taking greater climate action.
People of faith care about this and want strong action - both locally and at leadership level
If you honestly know any, mention people of faith who would normally vote Liberal or National but who have decided to vote for someone else, or are seriously considering doing so, because of their deep concern about the climate.
Those who think that acting on the climate is somehow not needed or going to cost them too much money are fewer and fewer.
Mention the senior faith leaders who signed an open letter to the PM about this (see below).
It may also be helpful to mention this objective research showing people’s attitudes on the climate in Australia
Nearly all marginal electorates have a higher than average desire for bold climate action
There is an excellent summary of this here. This means that the Coalition simply cannot get back in if it continues with its current policies. However, a debate persists within the Coalition as to whether to change direction. It is vital that they understand that it is in their direct self-interest to do so rather than draw some other conclusion.
It’s time to end the climate wars
Many people are tired of this issue being a source of political fighting and just want to get on with the job. We need a battle of ideas on how to fix it and who has the most ambition. Many otherwise conservative people just want serious policy answers.
You want a plan for bold action by 2030
This decade is when most of the reduction in pollution needs to take place, starting right away, if we are to avoid the worst damage to the climate and seize the economic opportunity in front of us. This needs to be a reduction in climate pollution of at least half by 2030. Targets for the faraway date of 2050 are not going to do the job. And we need a clear plan for getting there too.
Clean energy will create more jobs and save more money than gas
Solar, wind, hydro and batteries are good for the economy. They will create a lot more jobs than gas and save us all money as well. If you can think of a local project (solar, hydro, wind etc) that you would like them to support, please mention this as well.
Ask them to raise these things in their Party room and with Party leadership.
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 full list of signatories can be seen here
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.