The Government has called the Federal election for 21st May 2022, and we need your help to ensure that arts and culture stays on the agenda. TNA is supporting members in marginal electorates to make contact with their MPs and candidates to make sure they know about the cultural assets in their electorate, highlight the important role arts and culture has (particularly in recovery from COVID), and seek a commitment from all parties to develop a National Cultural Plan.
This page contains some key information to get you started including a history and overview of the formation of a National Cultural Plan to date, a toolkit of resources, and an outline of the steps you can take to get involved.
There are many ways to advocate for the arts, and each art form, region, and organisation has their own unique set of needs, not the least of which is of course more funding.
This election TNA is taking an asset-based approach; highlighting that the effective use of the skills, knowledge, people, institutions, and resources of the arts sector can provide solutions to issues that the government (and all of us) faces. Rather than making demands for the needs of the sector, this approach demonstrates the benefits and positive outcomes from adequate investment in the sector.
We want to help our MPs get to know what assets are in their electorates and how they contribute to the community, and that growing, mobilising and connecting people to these assets will lead to enhanced health, wellbeing and resilience, reduce pressures on other services, and greater social cohesion, among many other things.
Given that both major parties were a part of writing the report that recommended a National Cultural Plan (details below), this is quite a reasonable and achievable ask as an election commitment, and is something that will create positive change for the whole sector.
A National Cultural Plan
TNA has written a summary of what a National Cultural Plan is, why we need one, what work has been done so far in the process of advocating for one, and what are the next steps. Click here to read.
What You Can Do
We want you to feel that you can engage as little or as much as you want, but here's our recommendations on the best way to tackle this campaign.
Get together. This work is easiest done with other people to share the workload. We recommend getting together with 1-3 other people in your electorate to work on this together. You may want to get your colleagues or peers on board, or TNA can help you find others in our network - just let us know!
Do some research. You're going to be an advocate for the arts, so it's best to be prepared and know what you're talking about. This page has some resources and info to get you started. Remember though, your own lived experience and knowledge of your community is what's most important, so don't feel like you need to become an overnight expert!
Write to your MP and candidates. The first step is writing and sending an email or a letter. We've prepared an (below) to help get you started.
Meet with your MP and candidates. A meeting is a great way to open up the discussion, share your knowledge and opinions and ask your MP to consider your suggestions.
TNA has some resources for beginners getting into advocacy for the first time.
Who to contact - an overview and guide on figuring out how each level of government works, what they are responsible for, and who to contact when.
How to contact them - a brief and practical overview of which politician you should consider contacting, and how to find them.
Find your MP and candidates - Finding your incumbent MP is easy; you can look them up here. Finding your other candidates though is a little less straight forward and requires just a little bit of searching. Major parties list their candidates and contact details (Labor, Liberal, Greens), and there is a Wikipedia page that has a well updated table. For independents, if you know their name you can search for a website or social media. If you get stuck, let us know!
Champing of Arts and Culture meetups - Every three weeks in the lead up to the election, TNA is holding meetups for members to offer support and guidance about how to do your own advocacy in your local electorate, to present different policy ideas and approaches, and to offer a way for you to tell us what is important to you. At least one session will be dedicated to this campaign.
TNA has prepared a guide to help your write an email (or letter) to your MP. If you're time-poor then using this guide will do the job, but we encourage you write something that is your own, and to be more personal and specific to you and your community/electorate.
Note that the guide is written for MP's/candidates in a party. If it is an independent MP/candidate, you will need to change the language to reflect this.
Addressing your MP/candidate - simply use their salutation (Mr/Ms/Mrs etc) and their last name.
Stating where you live and the electorate (it is important that the MP/candidate knows you live in their electorate).
A clear statement of purpose (the reason you are writing to them).
A sentence or two on who you are, to personalise the letter and show your connection to the topic. Keep it brief and relevant!
Acknowledge/thank them for something (if applicable). MP's are people too and acknowledging their work will make them feel valued. It also shows you are a resident who pays attention.
Use some stats about your electorate that emphasise the importance of art and culture in your electorate. You can easily find and use ones from the Australia Council electorate profiles, or you might have your own.
Mention some other arts and culture assets in your electorate. This is an opportunity to put some things on your MP's/candidate's radar and talk about why they are important.
A statement on why arts and culture are important.
A statement on why we need a National Cultural Plan.
A statement on what needs to go into the Plan.
An ask for concrete action.
An ask for a response and/or a meeting.
We're here to help
If you need any advice or assistance, please email TNA General Manager Joshua Lowe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (03) 9947 1015.
Last updated: 15 September 2021
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