Your Member of Parliament needs to hear from you

The last fragment of the life-saving increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment and other income support payments is due to end on 31 March 2021. Our Members of Parliament (MPs) only have a few weeks left to make an announcement on its fate, which means right now it’s vital that our MPs know that we want them to push for a permanent, adequate increase to JobSeeker in the halls of Parliament.

Can you call your local Federal MP today about the urgent need for a permanent adequate increase to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income supports?

We’ve developed a handy guide for calling your MP with tips and an example script, which you can also download as a pdf. And make sure to fill in the form at the bottom of the page to let us know who you spoke to and how the conversation went.

Calling your Member of Parliament

Step 1. Plan what you want to say

The most powerful phone calls are those spoken from the heart, talking about your own concerns and experiences. Make sure to mention:

    • that you’re a local voter in that constituent;
    • your name and any relevant experience of living on income support;
    • if you’re currently looking for paid work, mention how many jobs you have applied and been knocked back for;
    • if you’re currently receiving income support, you could talk about how much higher income support payments have helped in the past several months, and what the cuts will mean for you in terms of covering the basics.

Here’s a sample script – but remember it’s just a guide. Feel free to make it your own!

Hi there – my name is [insert name], and I’m a local constituent. I’m calling because I’m concerned that the government hasn’t yet committed to a permanent adequate increase to income support when the Coronavirus Supplement ends in March.

I believe that everyone should be able to cover the cost of healthcare, put food on the table, and keep a secure roof over their head. I know that the government hasn’t ruled out going back to the brutal old Newstart rate of $40 a day. I’m calling to say that I hope that [insert MP name], will support a permanent increase so that everyone can afford the basics and rebuild their lives.

Millions of people need these payments as a lifeline. I urge you to not leave them behind, especially when there is just one job available for every nine people looking for one or more hours.

Other points to raise:

    • If you have been searching for paid work, please relay how this has been going for you.
    • If you are struggling with the cost of essentials, it’s important that your local MP hears what you’re going without to make ends meet.

A note about what is an ‘adequate’ increase:
We strongly encourage you to ask your MP to support the amount that you would like to see the JobSeeker rate increased by. For reference, ACOSS is calling for the base rate of JobSeeker ($41 a day) to be raised by an absolute minimum of $25 a day ($175 per week), for more information see Next steps to income support. But that is just ACOSS’s position and we strongly encourage you to put forward to your MP the increased amount that you believe is needed.

Step 2. Find your MPs information

Find your MP’s phone number on the Australian Parliament House website. If you’re unsure of who your local MP is, you can find out on the Australian Electoral Commission website using your postcode or locality.

Step 3. Make the call

If you call the office of an MP out of blue, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to speak directly to the politician. Politicians are usually in scheduled meetings most of the day booked for weeks in advance. You will most likely be speaking to a member of their staff or occasionally an adviser. If you’re nervous, just remember it’s literally their job to listen to you as a constituent.

Be courteous and take your time conveying your message in full. The office staff will likely listen attentively and take notes then assure you they will pass on your message to the MP, and they will – hearing what their local community care about (and will vote on) is a priority for MPs.

Step 4. Tell us how it went!

Fill in the form below to let us know who you spoke to and how the conversations went so we can support you with any next steps you want to take:

How did it go with your call to your Federal MP?