1. Do we as a community have real access to our parliament in Canberra to truly and fully participate in the democratic process?
2. We are asked to vote for, communicate with, and approach our paid elected members, but how is this meant to happen when access is so very limited between elections?
In reality, we the community, only have three methods available to approach our elected members between elections:
3. Requests for a meeting
. . .
We now ask for empowerment towards involvement and real participation.
The way forward
We are writing to the Independents in the Federal Parliament to ask if the petition system can be improved, amended and/or whether we need new legislation. We are writing to the Independents because they reach out to their grassroots communities.
The problem with petitions
An example: Geelong Renewables Not Gas (GRNG) initiated a petition against the proposed Viva Energy Gas Terminal. This is a short story of the pathway of the petition to the Victorian Parliament in September 2022. The GRNG committee formulated the wording for the petition after finding a parliamentarian who would be prepared to take the petition to parliament. The Member for the Western Region Mr Andy Meddick gave strong support and guidance to us as to the steps required for such a petition.
The members of GRNG collected 2,500 signatures over 6 weeks; hours spent standing on the local streets of Geelong. The completed petition was then delivered to Andy. After the required time Andy had the right to speak to the petition in parliament, for 10 minutes, on Wednesday 21st September, 2022. GRNG had a photo shoot with Andy, on the steps of parliament before entering the 40 member Legislative Council, to hear the reading. From the start of the reading we were surprised by onlynine elected members sitting in the house with only seven listening as two were busy viewing their phones. The Andy Meddick speech will now appear in the Hansard to be read “by very few”, as another member of parliament explained. The signed petitions are then put in a box in the archives never to see the light of day again. The one real positive from all the work involved in the petition, was the publicity gained through the local news. A strong message towards stopping a new fossil fuel development in Geelong.
This petition system does not pass the pub test, it is out of step with a modern Australia and the larger community now want to participate more closely in the democratic process. The petition system is far too ineffective. We ask for change.
The problem with writing letters
Writing as individual voters, as the larger community knows only to well is fraught with danger. A reply, which appears very generic, is very disappointing after considerable work writing one’s letter. At worst you hear the two party system batting you away as if your climate change concerns are ill founded and poorly considered. Most don’t feel inclined to write again but just drop out by saying, “What can I do, they don’t listen!”
But then again a few parliamentarians do reach out and this gives great hope.
Many voters between 25 and 55 feel their participation is limited due to time constraints. They are time poor with mortgages and children to get to school. On Saturday they have sport and the lawns need mowing.
We need more people, to mail more letters, to more parliamentarians.
Politicians also need support with letters when approaching the scrutiny of Canberra.
Letitions are a solution. A letition is a new concept. It is a cross between a letter and a petition. A Letition is written by our committee and forwarded to our larger community of people who are very concerned about the climate BUT are time poor. A letition (one letter with one message, sent by many) can be signed and mailed with a stamp in a few minutes.
People can again become very easily involved in the political process and participate with real contact with their local member. Send the letition stating a clear common message for real climate action.
ADAC’s first Climate Action LETITION is asking for a real Roadmap to be developed by CSIRO
1. Register to receive an email from us with attached Letition-letter to your local member.
2. Read the letter. Print off 5 copies, 1 for yourself and 4 for friends.
3. In Box A on the letter: place your name, address, email and phone details.
4. In Box B write a short personal message.
“I am 36 with 2 small children. I am very concerned for their future with
the climate train crash coming our way”.
You may also choose to write your own short letter to be enclosed.
5. Sign, buy a stamp and mail your letition-letter to your local politician.
If by chance you are invited to a meeting with your local member, ask for a time that suits you, e.g. a Saturday morning.
. . .
ADAC has asked many parliamentarians if this Letition was received by them would it be viewed as the equivalent of a letter. The answer is YES, as long as it has been forwarded with your details in the box.
When you register for a ADAC letition, your “letter/letition” is counted just as signatures on a petition are counted. The total in this case will be forwarded to the Minister for Environment and Climate change.
Most importantly numbers count. We need thousands of letitions. If 30 plus can be mailed to each local member about your concerns, it will give them strength to approach the Ministers most interested in real climate action and in a real, scientifically based Roadmap.
To see the most recent Letition letter: scroll down on the front page of this website