How not to persuade politicians or influence society

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30 women, many distinguished and wise, signed an open letter to the Prime Minister published in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald on very important issues related to gender equality.

It is hard work being Prime Minister and trying to please 16 million voters, about half of whom think the other party should really be in power. Voters mostly don’t even tell him what they want.  Many think that he is a KING who can proclaim policy on his own. In fact he needs the support of at least half but preferably more of the 225 Federal Members of Parliament and certainly the support of party members, organisers and cabinet.

To be communicated with by public open letter in the paper is just humiliating. It is rather like a parent telling her teenager in the school playground in front of her friends, to lift her game and tidy up her bedroom. The result will not always be a fond relationship or a tidy room.

If each of those ladies who signed the letter on the vital matter of women’s equality had sent a Votergram on the topic one week apart, the impact would have been private and sensational. Each of the 225 Federal MPs would have received each woman’s message and each woman could have given one different specific improvement for women that she personally favoured with one very good reason why and how it could be done.

6,750 messages would have gone into  the hands of parliamentarians spread over the next 6 months, giving 30 individual improvements to be made to advance women’s equality with 30 good reasons why it should be done and suggestions of how it could be accomplished.

The opposition MPs would have pressured the government MPs. The government backbenchers would have pressured the cabinet and the cabinet would have pressured the ministers responsible for each of those reforms. The politicians could have claimed electoral credit for it when it was done.

In 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote “If you want to gather honey don’t kick over the beehive”. It applies equally when seeking change in democracy. Don’t irritate the politicians who can make the very changes you want.

When Australians politely, persuasively and persistently ask all their federal politicians in the right way to do something that is fair and reasonable, tell them why they want it and how to accomplish it, FairGO’s experience over the past 34 years has been that the politicians do most of what is sought.

“Treating others the way you would like to be treated” has a lot going for it. There is an effective way and an ineffective way to ask MPs to do something worthwhile.

Cut out page 5 of yesterday’s SMH and see if what is asked is done in this year’s budget. These women signatories are to be commended for their requests and they should be met.  I will be delighted to be proven wrong in this case, but asking politicians personally, quietly and persistently has been very effective for the thousands of Australians for over 30 years.

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