Dear Friends in the Climate Movement,
At the end of September as part of a national week of action on climate change, a group of friends, including myself, held a sit-in in Kevin Rudd’s electoral office in Brisbane.
We had all been feeling increasingly concerned about our government’s lack of meaningful action on climate change. We felt it was time to do more than write letters and bemoan our government’s inaction. The sit-in was really successful and great fun to be a part of.
In the first days of December, the Rudd Government will release the White Paper, outlining the Emissions Trading Scheme and emissions reduction targets for 2020 – the most important policy in contemporary Australia. I’m calling on you to do a similar action in your MP’s office in the first week of December – step in to your MP’s office and be part of stepping it up on climate change.
At our ’step in’, five people went into Kevin Rudd’s office and asked to make an appointment with Rudd. I felt a bit nervous walking in, but having a group of us together made it a lot easier. After some discussion with a staff member and the office manager, we established that we weren’t going to get a meeting straight away. So we said, “That’s ok, we’ll wait” – and we sat down on the floor and pulled out our signs that we had prepared beforehand. With perfect timing, our other friends came around the corner with a banner that read ‘Great Barrier Reef – not negotiable’.
Soon, television crew from three different stations arrived. Our media spokesperson conducted a number of interviews while we continued to sit on the floor in the office. After two hours, the police hadn’t turned up. We felt we had succeeded in getting the media we wanted and decided to call it quits for the day… perhaps to return for a much longer sit-in in December!
I think the action was successful because we were really organised in advance. We’d had a couple of meetings before the day of the sit-in. On the day, we met up near Rudd’s office about an hour beforehand to go over what we wanted to do.
Another key part to the success of our action was having two excellent media people (one a media spokesperson and the other a media liaison) who sent our media release and made follow-up calls to key media outlets once we were in the office. They had practiced by roleplaying interviews and were feeling well-prepared before the action. Sending out a media release with high resolution photos was also important so media outlets that didn’t make it were still able to do stories with photos on the action.
You can see some of the media on our action here:
It was great having supporters chanting and with colourful banners outside. They kept us entertained with chants of “Save our Reef, Mr Rudd, Garnaut’s targets are a dud!’ Their presence provided us with moral support for what we were doing.
I think the only problem we had on the day was when trains were suddenly cancelled – just before our train was due to head to Kevin Rudd’s office! We had to go and find a bus and we were running about half an hour late. Leaving plenty of time before the event was due to start definitely paid off for us!
I encourage you to do a similar action in your MP’s office in the first week of December. Now is the time to step in and step up community action on climate change!
To get you started, download the great information kit on how to do a Step In https://stepitupaustralia.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/step-in-to-step-it-up-on-climate-change.pdf
Next, get together with your climate action group or your friends and talk about what you would like your ‘Step In’ to be like. What will you do when you are there? What are the core messages you want to convey to your MP, to the public, and to media? What do people in your group need to feel prepared? Email email@example.com with any questions or for an experienced activist to visit your group to help you plan.
Then, a short time after the Federal Government releases their White Paper, step in to your MP’s office with a group of people from your community, and be part of stepping it up on climate change!
See the website for more information, tips and stories from a whole range of climate change groups who have ‘stepped in’ to their MP’s office already: https://stepitupaustralia.wordpress.com/ Get informed, inspired, and ready to STEP IN this December.
All the best in stepping in,