Labour activist Tony Milne, who was involved in the successful Civil Unions campaign, has pulled together this quick list of lobbying tips for those who want to make a difference in the campaign for marriage equality.
Respect the way in which an MP has decided to make a decision (there are multiple ways MPs are influenced or could come to their decision, and multiple factors they are taking into account when making a decision – some of which may have nothing to do with the bill itself).
Discuss, don’t lecture.
Share your view and experience, don’t bully, hector, or harass (makes you feel better, but doesn’t help persuade – in fact, does the opposite).
Pick up on the signals in any response to inform future responses. For example: if an MP says they will be guided by their electorate (incredibly valuable information for an MP to share!), organise locally to encourage locals to explain from a personal perspective what it will mean to them the day the law passes. Or organise a petition of locals to demonstrate local support.
Never attack an MP you’re trying to persuade.
An undecided MP (even a “no”) who has been treated with respect, dignity, compassion and understanding, is more likely to become a “yes”.
Let’s not repeat the mistakes of our opponents whose poor tactics and lack of lobbying skills have helped our victories in the past.