Our Federal MPs (and political candidates) only know that things are an issue for constituents when people speak up. We can't presume that Australia's leaders have the same knowledge as we do about the harms of internet pornography on children and young people. Therefore, it's up to us to be proactive and take action, educating those who represent us so, they can effect change at policy level within government.
Whilst it's important that State MPs are aware of the issues, Federal level is where eChildhood would like to most encourage our supporters to respond. Here are 3 ways you can take action.
- Write a letter to your MP
- Make an appointment with your MP
- Encourage your friends and family to do the same
ITEMS TO DISCUSS:
The following links and information will assist you in putting this issue front and centre:
- A fact page on age-verification to provide to members of parliament.
- Pressing Questions you can ask members of parliament, including information on the current laws and shortfalls.
- A sample letter to send to sitting political candidates.
- 10 Facts about porn, kids & AV to provide to political candidates. The 10 Facts about porn, kids & AV are downloadable as a PDF and available as graphics to share on Social Media and send to your family and friends to create awareness.
Keep reading below for information about the do's and don'ts of how to maximise your impact. Thank you for standing with us to see age-verification implemented. If you haven't yet done so, we invite you to join the eChildhood movement. Their Future. Your Voice.
- Find out who is your Federal MP or sitting candidate. You can search by electorate on the Parliament of Australia website.
- When making a time to visit, call ahead first and let them know to expect an email request for an appointment.
- Address your MP appropriately. You can see their title, such as Mr, Hon. Dr or Ms, in the list of MP’s on the Parliament of Australia website.
- In emails and in letters, include your address. It is important for MP’s to see that you are from their electorate and will be voting for or against their seats in the future.
- When writing a letter, it's best to legibly handwrite. If this is not possible, a typed and printed letter is acceptable.
- Avoid email unless it is accompanied with a phone call, since they can easily be lost or deleted by staff.
- Prepare well. Go to our Pressing Questions page to familiarise yourself with the National Classifications Scheme that already stipulates minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them; and everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive.
Either in a letter or during an appointment:
- Share personal stories of children impacted by pornography.
- Point out to your MP that this issue concerns kids and families across Australia, as well as schools, researchers, child development experts, youth welfare authorities, the medical profession, social and public policy sectors, and other members of the community.
- Refer to current studies and responses taken in other countries. Take a look at the eChildhood Statement of Research, and a good place to find academic studies is on our ‘Journal Articles’ page on our website.
- Provide a list of the sources you refer to and provide further reading or viewing that your MP may find useful.
- Ask Pressing Questions, including "How will you support a move by the Government to uphold it's duty of care to protect children online?"
- Tell your MP that their response to this issue will influence your vote for them in the next Federal Election.
- Avoid making personal attacks. No one wins by taking the low road.
- Avoid simplifying this issue. Many people are concerned only for kids impacted by pornography, yet there is also an opportunity to mention the impact on families; strain on support services to assist kids and families harmed by pornography; and the broader financial and social costs to the community.
- Avoid using religious arguments. Not everyone is religious, so it is best to use grounded and researched discussions to get your point across.
After your written letter or appointment:
- Write a follow up letter.
- Say thank you.
- Address some of your MPs concerns if they have already responded to you.
- Ask them to share what action points they are going to commit to after your visit.
- Send the list of resources and further reading or viewing mentioned in your initial letter or appointment.
- Arrange a follow up visit. There’s nothing like repeated discussion to get your point across.
- Encourage and assist friends and family with writing their own letters.
- Write a Letter to the Editor to your local paper. This is a great way to let others in the community know what is going on.
- If you would like to let us know how your MP responded, please use our feedback form here.
Click through to find important background information and pressing questions to ask.
Follow us and share our updates on Facebook and Twitter for our latest updates, including current research and media articles that address the harms of children and young people accessing online pornography.