Hints for Effective Lobbying

“Wars are won in the will.”

Five Ways To Influence

1. Perception is everything. One thoughtless remark can destroy a lot of good work, so always ensure the credibility of your sources when putting forward any factual information - hearsay is not evidence.

2. Coordinate your correspondence to politicians and newspapers. A steady stream of letters over several weeks will have more impact than a flurry of mail over one or two days. If there’s official documentation (i.e. draft legislation, government reports etc.) to be had through your local member of parliament (MP) then everyone involved in the letter (or email) drive should request it. It’ll help create the impression that your campaign is organised and determined.

3. Openly boycott companies and organizations hostile to private firearms ownership. Target local identities (business proprietors, media personalities, local government councillors etc.) who’re known to be anti-gun. Tell your friends about these people and encourage them not to patronize their businesses or support them.

4. Create media events. Things like club open days where the public can participate (under appropriate supervision) are a good way to generate positive publicity. Ensure that the local media are informed and invited. Journalists for community newspapers, radio, etc. are chiefly concerned with local issues and are usually prepared to give time to covering them.

5. Sponsorship of local sporting teams and community groups is a good way to build influence in your area. Especially if the particular activity is seen as positive, healthy or generally beneficial (i.e. the local kid’s football team, volunteer ambulance, local bushfire brigades etc.). These types of groups are always in need of support and for the investment of a little effort and/or capital a great deal of goodwill can be established.

Dealing Directly With Politicians 

Ultimate responsibility for the drafting and preparation of firearms legislation and regulations usually lies with the relevant minister and the parliamentary executive (Cabinet). However, on the way to the final Bill a large number of people, including backbenchers, will have the opportunity for input. Once you’ve decided on a direct approach to a particular politician (usually your local MP) this is the procedure to follow:

  • Contact the politician's office and establish roughly what time they’ll be available.
     
  • Request an appointment and give a brief outline of the matter to be discussed.
     
  • Be thoroughly prepared and clear on exactly what you want the politician to do.
     
  • Prepare a written submission/letter which can be left with the politician.

 

Preparing a Submission/Letter

  • Begin with a brief summary of the purpose and content. 
  • Present your arguments and/or proposals in a clear and concise way.
  • Support your arguments with properly referenced facts wherever possible.
  • Use clear, precise language (and check your spelling).
  • Include any additional information in an appendix.
  • Be as brief as possible without abbreviating your arguments.
  • If possible, your submission/letter should be neatly typed (word processed).
  • Avoid being abusive or threatening.

 

Submission/Letter Format:

Your name and address

Date 

Recipient's name and address

 

Dear ................

 

Outline the reason/s for writing (Provide a little background, but remember to keep it brief.)

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Outline your main objections or concerns and any suggestions you may have for a better alternative. If there are several issues involved it’s better to concentrate on one or two at most. (Keep in mind that most politicians are lazy and if you present them with something that looks like a telephone book they’ll simply ignore it).

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Thank the recipient for taking the time to consider your concerns and proposals. (Point out that you feel very strongly about the issue and that you’ve resolved not to vote for the person in question, or their party, should your sentiments be ignored.)

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Yours sincerely

Your name and signature.

 

Key Points To Remember

  • Press clippings, political pamphlets, newsletters, Hansard records and anti-gun Internet sites all provide invaluable sources of information.
  • Intelligence gathering should be on-going and all data should be cross-checked. Remember, everything needs to be correctly sourced - i.e. publication details, dates, page numbers etc.
  • Being aware of potential issues as soon as they become public (or sooner if possible) provides an important opportunity for shooters to coordinate and take action. Knowledge is power and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  • Grassroots activism is where all political battles are won or lost and persistent, coordinated efforts work best.