Facing off the members

star anise 25 February 2009 21

I’d like to meet a local politician, one on one, in an office – even though I’m just your average citizen and I’m not part of any advocacy or lobby group. 

If Stanhope and company are supposed to represent me, it would be nice of them to hear what I have to say.  It would be nice to have a 2-way conversation.  I want to feel important damn it!  I’d like to feel I somehow contributed to such grand issues as the re-paving of the bike path between Manuka and Fyshwick. 

Pipe dreams…?  Well in the UK, all local government members have to offer ‘surgeries’, and their ‘opening hours’ are posted on local government websites.  You can go and meet your local member, tell them what you think, learn a bit more about how local government works, ask for an update on a particular issue, or make a complaint. 

You can be cynical about the UK government’s efforts to make the public feel ‘included’, particularly if it doesn’t seem to translate into any actions, but personally, I don’t care overly much about action.  I just want to feel included.

(Comic by Panama)


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
21 Responses to Facing off the members
Filter
Order
Granny Granny 1:26 pm 26 Feb 09

I have to agree that I’ve never encountered an ACT MLA who hasn’t been willing to see me when I’ve asked.

If the issue is important enough, it’s useful for them to know and they probably appreciate you getting in touch. If it’s not important enough for you to raise with them, why waste their time?

star anise star anise 12:40 pm 26 Feb 09

which is precisely why i love this website.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 12:36 pm 26 Feb 09

And let that be a reminder that the local MLA’s actually do read, and take notice of, Riotact!

star anise star anise 12:36 pm 26 Feb 09

HIGHlarious. no door knocking required. well joel, can you facilitate my participation at the next cross-sectoral priority setting workshop? presumably led by the commitee for inter-sectoral collaboration who is working hard to ‘join up’ service delivery.

Joel at Joys office Joel at Joys office 12:12 pm 26 Feb 09

Hi star anise

To answer a couple of your questions –

“I wonder how local pollies are reaching out and involving the sort of people who would have no idea that RiotACT exists?”

Here are a few examples:

– As mentioned above, MLAs such as Mary Porter and Joy undertake regular shopping centre stalls across their electorates.

– Send mail outs inviting local residents to get in touch to discuss their concerns.

– Regularly attend local community council meetings.

“Besides ‘consulting’ with advocacy organisations, does anyone know about how local government involves people from more deprived demographics in policy making and planning? Does anyone know of ‘vertical slice’ planning meetings that include both bureaucrats and service users? And if we can’t actually participate in planning meetings, are they at least advertised and open to public observation?”

This website is a good place to start:

http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/your_say/be_involved/consultation_information

Anyway, if you’d like to contact me on 6205 0110 or at burch@act.gov.au, I’d be happy to facilitate a meeting with Joy or your relevant local member / help answer any other questions you have.

Cheers

Joel at Joy Burch’s office

star anise star anise 11:24 am 26 Feb 09

While I am pleased I can personally make the effort to get in touch with my local pollie (while feeeling like I’m being slapped senseless by a detached bleeding arm), I wonder how local pollies are reaching out and involving the sort of people who would have no idea that RiotACT exists? Besides ‘consulting’ with advocacy organisations, does anyone know about how local government involves people from more deprived demographics in policy making and planning? Does anyone know of ‘vertical slice’ planning meetings that include both bureaucrats and service users? And if we can’t actually participate in planning meetings, are they at least advertised and open to public observation?

trevar trevar 9:06 am 26 Feb 09

Their email addresses are an easy way to get in touch too. It’s always firstname.lastname@parliament.act.gov.au. You do get the ‘door bitch’ this way, but they’re nice bitches, mostly. Just ask for their time for a coffee.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 8:15 am 26 Feb 09

It isn’t hard to get a meeting with you’re local MLA. Just ring up and ask for a meeting telling them you are in their electorate.

If you have a bigger issue you wish to tackle, ring up the office of the relevant Minister (or their Opposition number) and ask for an appointment. I recently had a joint meeting with Steve Doszpot and Brendan Smyth on a particular issue and have been invited back to meet with them again tomorrow. I’m also meeting with Amanda and Meredith from the Greens earlier in the day. All it takes is the time to call them and explain what you want to discuss…

Good luck…

I-filed I-filed 7:49 am 26 Feb 09

Star anise’s private citizen post demonstrates an extraordinary synchronicity with a discussion in Stanhope’s information hub about the UK government’s social marketing techniques yesterday.

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 1:05 am 26 Feb 09

ie, Mary Porter

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 12:56 am 26 Feb 09

There are regularly opportunities provided by the local pollies to meet them in a specific location… granted, these seem more regular in the lead up to election time, but hey… (maybe check their website).

Oh, and as they reminded us in the advertising for the public meetings for the closure of schools (in recent times), they are interested in seeing “how you feel” (not doing anything about it, just interested – it’s called “consultation” – apparently).

miz miz 11:30 pm 25 Feb 09

[I like the cartoon element that’s been appearing lately. They are another (clever) way to comment, are often quite perceptively pointed!] It’s a drawcard for me.

johnboy johnboy 10:22 pm 25 Feb 09

Guys, I like the cartoons, lots of people like them, they don’t cost you anything or hurt you in any way.

They bring a smile to other people’s faces.

As long as Panama keeps sending them in we will keep running them, although you’ll be pleased to know we’ve agreed to do one a day.

Now I note you’re offtopic and ask you to try and stick to it.

Thanks.

PsydFX PsydFX 8:33 pm 25 Feb 09

Thumper said :

JB,

I’d hate to point it out, but the cartoons are really lame. I mean, really, really lame.

Agreed.

It detracts from the posts and destroys any semblance of professionalism this site may have had.

bd84 bd84 8:19 pm 25 Feb 09

Go and hang out in the carpark in front of the legislative assembly, you will find comrade jon trudging to his reserved spot most days.

Thumper Thumper 7:36 pm 25 Feb 09

JB,

I’d hate to point it out, but the cartoons are really lame. I mean, really, really lame.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 7:10 pm 25 Feb 09

Star Anise, most Ministers employ someone who essentially fills the role of “Door Bitch” so you’ll need to have your wits about you to get an audience. They’ll probably quiz you about what you want to discuss, who else you’ve talked to about your concerns, whether or not you might be better served by taking your concerns up with ACT Government officials or by going through other established avenues. You’ll basically have to present a strong case for why the Government Minister/MLA should be the best person to talk to.

I think that you’ll probably also find that opposition members will be significantly more accessible – not because of party political factors, just because they generally are. Try the Greens first (given their pivotal role in the present Government.

seekay seekay 6:53 pm 25 Feb 09

Er… have you ever thought of ringing up and making an appointment with your local MP?

GB GB 6:21 pm 25 Feb 09

Some do, some don’t.

cf http://joyburch.com/id2.html

I can’t see how its a good use of the tax-funded pollies’ working hours for them to spend time with staranise just so they feel ‘included’.

Oh hang on, “star anise” is an anagram for “Ares stain” so its probably ironic…

poptop poptop 6:15 pm 25 Feb 09

Star Anise, have you asked for an appointment or are you waiting for an invitation?

I believe I speak for many Canberrans by stating I would generally rather to rip off an arm and beat myself to death with the soggy end than spend time chatting to an ACT MLA.

Chosing a back bencher or opposition hack from within your electorate and suggest an interseting topic is quite likely to get you in.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site