Why and how you can meet with Members of Parliament
This information is drawn from the Tenants' Union of NSW Campaign Toolkits. You can find your area's Campaign Toolkit via the Putting Renters on the Map tool. Your area's Campaign Toolkit contains stories, stats and data specific to your part of NSW, as well as contact details and information about your local MP, and a 2-pager of information about the Make Renting Fair campaign.
Why do we meet with Members of Parliament?
The laws that impact renting in NSW are primarily made by members of the NSW Parliament. This means that your local Member of Parliament (MP), has a say in what our renting system looks like.
Your local MP is elected by you and others in your community, to represent you in Parliament. This means they care what you and other voters in their electorate have to say: if they do a bad job representing the interests of their constituents, they face potentially not getting re-elected.
MPs can’t be experts in every area of policy, so there’s a very good chance your local MP isn’t a renting expert. This means your stories, statistics and policy solutions can help them learn and understand issues facing their community that they may not have come across before. If you come to the meeting confident and prepared, you have the potential to really change their thinking on renting issues.
How to meet with a Member of Parliament
Find some like-minded folk who want to speak to their local NSW MP about making renting fair. This should include a renter or two, and potentially a tenant advocate or community worker, to make up your delegation. If you’d like help connecting with your local Tenants’ Advice Service or others in your area please get in touch via email@example.com.
Contact your MP’s office to set up a meeting to discuss renting. Let them know who will be attending. They may offer you a meeting with one of the MP’s staffers rather than an MP themself – this is still a useful meeting to have.
Make sure you know their political party, and have a sense of their positions on the Make Renting Fair campaign solutions. If you're unsure, get in touch with the Make Renting Fair team to find out more information so you can make sure you have an idea of what the conversation might be like. Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delegates should meet before the meeting to discuss who will speak about what, so you have a plan of attack. Decide whether you want to talk broadly about the rental crisis and put forward all of the Make Renting Fair solutions, or if there’s a specific topic (e.g. evictions, or rental affordability) that you want to focus on. Talk to others who know about the issue so you are confident and can speak easily on the topic – remember, you are the expert in your experience of the rental crisis!
Read over our list of Common objections to the Make Renting Fair policy solutions, and familiarise yourself with some of the facts in response to these objections.
Make sure you’ve got enough time to get to the meeting. If it’s a meeting at NSW Parliament, allow time to get through security and organise for a staffer to meet you.
Make sure you have the contact details of the MP or staffer you are meeting and the phone numbers of other people in your delegation in case something changes at the last minute.
Print a copy of the State of the Renters information for the electorate and the Make Renting Fair 2-pager to leave with the MP, as well as your contact details or business card(s). You can find these in your area's Campaign Toolkit.
3. Meeting your MP
Each delegate should introduce themselves. Hand over the Make Renting Fair 2-pager, State of the Renters information, and your contact info. Give some background about who you are, what you do, and why you are interested in renting justice.
Talk about why you are involved in the Make Renting Fair campaign, and why these issues impact people in that MP’s electorate. Share a story about the impact of the rental crisis – your own story, a story of a friend, client or neighbour (with their consent), or a story from your Campaign Toolkit.
Keep the discussion focused on the problem and solutions and try not to let the conversation go on tangents. Time can be limited in these meetings so it’s important to make the most of it, and some MPs can tend to take over the conversation and take it off-topic.
Confirm directly whether they support the Make Renting Fair campaign solution(s) you’ve discussed with them. Offer to find any additional information they may need.
Always be polite and courteous. Thank the person for their time, and remind them how important the issue is, even if it seems you haven’t convinced them.
4. After the meeting
Make a quick record of the main points – whether they support the campaign, their arguments, anything of particular interest, any follow ups you promised or offered.
Follow up as soon as you can if you have said that you will.
Contact the Make Renting Fair campaign on email@example.com to let us know how the meeting has gone and/or to request our support, e.g. information you’d like to pass on to your MP. Knowing what gets discussed and who supports and opposes helps our campaign immensely.