Many of you have been busy signing up your friends and family to the Every Australian Counts campaign. Our goal is to make sure the Federal Government accepts the recommendations of the Productivity Commission and commits to introducing the NDIS.
Part of our strategy to win this campaign is to talk to every single Federal MP about the NDIS. We’ve put together a briefing note with facts and figures, but your story is what’s important and is what will make all the difference.
Change involves people voicing their views and making it clear to politicians what they want. You can do this in 4 easy steps:
Step 1. Find out the name of your MP
Step 2. Contact your MP’s electorate office – write a letter or ask for a meeting
Step 3. Follow up with a phone call
Step 4. Meet with your MP
In Australia, the job of our elected Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives is to represent the interests of everyone in their electorate. They are your voice in Parliament.
We want the Federal government to introduce a fair, effective and sustainable system, one that places people with a disability and their families at the centre and gives them greater choice, control and flexibility.
To be your voice in Parliament your MP needs to know what you want. You need to tell him/her.
STEP 1 – Who’s my federal MP?
Contact your Federal Member of Parliament’s local electorate office. Don’t know who your federal MP is? Find out using our quick and easy tool – enter your postcode to find the name of your electorate, the name of your MP and the party s/he belongs to.
STEP 2 – Contact your MP’s electorate office
Email or write to your MP. Here is a sample letter. Your email/letter should:
- • State that the Productivity Commission has recommended the introduction of a new, national disability system – the NDIS – to replace the existing “inefficient and inequitable” state and territory disability systems
- • Highlight how you/your family and many others in the electorate expect the Federal Government to introduce the NDIS
- • Explain the social and economic benefits of the NDIS, and what a difference it would make to you and your family
- • Ask your MP for an appointment to discuss the NDIS and/or seek a written commitment from your MP that they will actively support the introduction of the NDIS.
STEP 3 – Follow-up phone call to your MP
Follow up your email/letter to your MP with a phone call. You will probably speak to the electorate officer or personal assistant. Request a meeting to discuss the NDIS with your MP.
Mention that you may discuss this important community issue with your local paper/radio/TV. When your MP appointment is secured, make sure you get written confirmation.
STEP 4 – At your meeting with the MP
Arrive on time.
If you are a parent of a child with a disability feel free to take your child along to the meeting – but only if you feel comfortable doing so. It may be a good idea to take someone else along who can look after your child while you are talking.
Take your meeting confirmation with you. Be prepared – take some information from the Every Australian Counts website with you.
1. Time limit – ask the MP how much time is available for discuss (eg 30 mins).
2. Introduction – “Thank you for making time to see me/us. As supporters of the Every Australian Counts campaign, we are here because we want to see the NDIS introduced as outlined by the Productivity Commission in its recent report.
3. Tell them where they can find more information about the Productivity Commission report – http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support/draft or point them to one of our summaries from the Every Australians Counts website.
4. Explain your personal experience – your MP needs to know the effects of trying to overcome daily obstacles on you/your family’s social, financial, emotional and physical well-being. It puts a personal perspective on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.
5. Ask your MP to champion the NDIS – “I ask you to actively champion the NDIS, because it offers long-term social and economic benefits to everyone who lives in your electorate.” Here are six things you can ask the MP to do to show their support:
(i). Sign up as a supporter on the Every Australian Counts website
(ii). Place the Every Australian Counts logo on your website – copies of logos and buttons can be found at www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au/resources
(iii). Write to the Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, Treasurer and Shadow Treasurer and Minister for Families Communities Housing and Indigenous Affairs and the Shadow Minister stating your strong support for the NDIS based on the views of people in their electorate
(iv). Raise the issue of the NDIS in Caucus or the Party Room and inform members of your support for the idea
(v). Give a speech or ask a question regarding the NDIS in Parliament
(vi). Inform your electorate of your support – through local media or at public events
6. Ask if you can take a photo of the MP holding the I Count sign – you can download a copy of the I count sign here.
7. Request a follow-up meeting in one month to find out what actions your MP took.
8. Offer your sincere thanks for your MP’s interest and leave a copy of our brochure or the ten reasons document from the Every Australian Counts website.
Possible questions from MPs – and some suggested answers
MP: It’s an important idea but unfortunately the nation just can’t afford the extra money as our first priority must be to get the budget back into surplus. Then we can help people with a disability and their families.
- • The Productivity Commission has done detailed investigation and analysis and has highlighted the economic and social benefits to the national as a whole. The NDIS will enable many more people to become employed and contribute to the economy.
- • By providing targeted support so many more people with disabilities and family carers can become part of the workforce; this will contribute to Australia’s skill base and reduce the demand on welfare payments.
- • More people working and paying tax will help bring the budget back into surplus faster. This means we are not “helping” people but “investing” in them – so they can participate in the productive life of our nation.
- • Investing in people and providing targeted, appropriate and timely support will also ensure people have every opportunity to reach their full potential. This will not only dramatically improve their lives but ultimately reduce demand on the system.
- • Of course you would understand the broad, long-term social benefits of being employed and valued.
MP: I am sure the NDIS would improve people’s lives and I would really like to help, but it would be irresponsible to introduce it too soon, not until the economy is stronger and can cope with the extra annual funding of the scheme
- • We already spend more than $6 billion a year on disability services – but because of the poorly planned, ad hoc, crisis-driven system we have inherited the money is not meeting people’s needs or delivering the kinds of outcomes we want to see.
- • The situation will only grow worse in the future. The number of people with a disability will increase and the number of people willing and able to provide unpaid care will decrease. Governments will be responsible for filling the gaps – and the impact on state and federal budgets will be significant. Pouring more money into this system would be like pouring money into a bucket with holes in it. We will spend more and the money will not be used effectively.
- • The alternative is to introduce a planned, fair efficient and effective system that gives people greater choice, flexibility and control. It will enable more people with a disability and their families to participate more fully in the economy and the community. It will ensure the money is used to deliver the very best outcomes both for individuals and the national as a whole.
- • Be persistent, polite and positive. Let your MP know that they have the ability to fundamentally change the lives of people with a disability and their families in their electorate by supporting the NDIS. This is their chance to make a difference.
- • While it is important to be positive, it is also important not to sugar coat your circumstances. Explain simply and directly what the problems facing you and your family are, and how the current system is failing you. Make it clear that issues such as this affect the way you consider your vote.
- • Politely tell your MP that that you expect him/her to represent your views. Remember you are an important person – you live in their electorate and they are there to represent you.
Thanks for taking action so every Australian counts !
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Upcoming EventsUpcoming Events
- Several Federal Members of Parliament set to hold NDIS forums across Victoria, come and have your voice heard!
- Geelong is in for a double delight as two NDIS forums are held on February 8, 2013! Register today!
- Expert disability panel to discuss NDIS – Frankston – 5 December
- Upcoming NDIS forum in Benalla:15 November
- Rob Mitchell MP and Senator McLucas host NDIS forum in Seymour
- Chelsea, your Federal MP wants to hear your thoughts on the NDIS
- Senator Mclucas invites you to talk about the NDIS in Brand
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In the mediaIn the media
- Meanwhile in WA… 16 May, 2013
- PM on WA & the NDIS 28 March, 2013
- NDIS Legislation Eclipse 22 March, 2013
- Tweet NDIS Questions to the WA Leaders Debate Tonight 19 February, 2013
- Premier Barnett on the NDIS & COAG 5 December, 2012
- Excellence in Disability Reform -Samantha Jenkinson in her own words 29 November, 2012
- Asking our MPS to stand and deliver 26 November, 2012
- Media Release: CAMPAIGN REJECTS NDIS COST SCAREMONGERING 15 November, 2012