Write to your local paper to support Australian Aid

Writing a letter to you local paper is an easy and effective way to have your voice heard by thousands of people in your community.

Many local MPs keep a close eye on the media to see what their constituents are saying. This influences their thinking about your community’s needs and helps shape the opinions they take to Canberra.

Keep your message as personal as possible. Try weaving in your own personal experiences if you can.

Choose your state and find your nearest paper.

What to write:

1. Describe the problem. If possible link it to something topical in a recent edition of the paper.

e.g.

  • There has been a lot criticism of the budget as unfair.
  • The Government has cut aid by a billion dollars.
  • Millions of poor people will be worse of under the Government’s budget plans.
  • The Government was elected with a policy to maintain aid at around $5 billion and to increase it in line with inflation each year.
  • Since then however they have cut aid twice, and announced that they may plan to cut it again in the May 2015 Federal Budget.
  • The planned aid cuts in the upcoming budget would drop aid to its lowest ever level in Australian history – just 0.22 per cent of our national income, or 22 cents in every $100.
  • At the same time, other wealthy nations like the UK have reached the global goal of giving 70 cents in every $100, and they’ve even introduced legislation to keep aid levels there.
  • If the cuts go ahead, the Australian Aid program, at just over 1 per cent of total expenditure, will have shouldered more than $1 in $4 of all the cuts made by the Government.

2. Say what you think or feel about the problem.

e.g.

  • Cuts to Australian Aid are extremely unfair given how small the aid budget is, and the way the aid budget works to help the poorest people.
  • These cuts will hurt millions of people. They could mean that hundreds of thousands of children do not get to go to school or have access to clean water, and that tens of thousands of people do not get access to adequate health care or medical assistance.
  • Yet these cuts also won’t make much difference to the budget bottom line as aid is such a small part of the budget.
  • These cuts would make us one of the least generous of the wealthy aid-giving countries.

3. Suggest a solution.

e.g.

  • The government needs to withdraw its $1bn aid cut if it doesn’t want to be known as the most unfair Australian government ever
  • The government should look elsewhere to balance the budget, it should not do it by cutting assistance to the world’s poorest people
  • The government should keep its election promise and maintain aid at $5 billion in the 2015-16 budget.
  • It should reverse its plans, set out in MYEFO, to make the largest cuts to Australian aid in history.

Letters need to be around 150 words for best change at publication. 200 words max.

Sending your letter

Click here and choose your state to find your nearest paper.

You can send them a letter in the body of an email or often from their web page, with ‘Letter to the editor’ in the subject line.

You need to provide your name, address and a contact phone number in case they want to check the letter is really from you. Look at front or editorial page of the paper or their website for contact details.

Remember to BCC us in to your email at debbieh@oxfam.org.au to help keep track of numbers.

What next?

Once you’ve written your letter, look out for it in your local paper and send us a copy. We’d love to see it!

If it doesn’t get publicsed, don’t give up. Keep writing because persistence often pays off. Also, don’t forget to check out the online editions of the newspapers as sometimes letters which didn’t make it into the paper are published on the web.