Meet your MP

What happens when 1,267 GetUp members mobilise to meet with their local MPs?

The Meet your MP project launched in September 2013, with a big and ambitious plan in mind:
to bring together our federal representatives with the GetUp members in their constituency, and put real democratic engagement back into action.
As our newly elected Parliament made preparations for its first sitting week, we put the call out for GetUp members everywhere to step up and meet with their MPs face-to-face.

Since September 2013, 1,267 GetUp members have signed up in every electorate across the country, making this one of the biggest people-powered projects we’ve ever taken on.

Let's take a look back at what we've achieved.

How it all began

In 2013, GetUp members mobilised like never before.

As our nation took to the polls, we came out in force - with big smiles, bright orange t-shirts and issue-based independent scorecards.

Together, we sparked conversations with over 2.3 million voters to make sure the progressive issues we care about were on the political agenda.

But to keep these conversations going, and hold our newly elected representatives to their word, GetUp members prepared to mobilise again.

Our goal was ambitious:
to sit down with MPs across the country and talk about the progressive vision GetUp members have for Australia over the next three years.

GetUp members meeting Adam Bandt MP in Melbourne

Holding face-to-face meetings with our decision makers would be our chance to cut through the party lines and have meaningful conversations about the big issues at stake.

This is a fantastic idea. It gives a voice to the silent majority, one that crosses the political divide. I wish team Berowra the best of luck!

Hans, GetUp member

Rather than the lunches and lobbyists that usually fill our Federal Members' diaries, we'd be there to put the local face to GetUp's national campaigns, and let our representatives know exactly what we'll be fighting for: a fairer, more compassionate and more progressive Australia.

These would be the conversations to define our movement, and our relationship with our representatives, for the next three years.

That's hundreds of everyday Australians, from school teachers, carpenters, university academics and nurses, to teenagers, single mums and retirees – people from all walks of life – who have now taken part in the process of planning and carrying out a meeting with their MP.

Teams of enthusiastic GetUp members came together in each electorate across Australia, and were set with the task of calling their MPs offices’ to book a meeting time.

They were persistent, organised, and did their research; getting together at the local pub, cafe, or in their own home, to prepare the agenda for their team’s meeting.

'Good Luck!'
And those who couldn’t make it sent messages to wish their local team well.

Meeting our MPs

Over the past few months, Christopher Pyne has held a meeting.

Greg Hunt has held a meeting.

Kate Ellis, Warren Truss and Anthony Albanese have held meetings too.

These are just a handful of some of the biggest players in Parliament who have all taken the time to listen to what we had to say.

By sitting down face-to-face, we were able to see past the public personas of our representatives, and learn about the real people behind the policies.

The Minister shared his passion and reason for getting into politics, which was concern about climate change. Mr Bandt observed that people are powerful and that organisations like Get Up can make a difference by shifting public opinion to a tipping point.

Anne, GetUp member in Melbourne.

Whether we agreed on all of the issues raised in our meetings, or none at all, we’ve been amazed by just how considerate and constructive these conversations have been.

Our MP was really friendly and receptive. We were three faces, but we knew we were representing 8,500 other members in Adelaide. It was fun and surprisingly easy!

Jeff, GetUp member in Adelaide.

In every meeting, teams presented their MP with their GetUp in your Electorate Report, giving MPs the hard numbers on just how many GetUp members live in their electorate, and outlining the issues they care about most.

Issues like:
Real action on climate change
A better way forward for asylum seekers
A more equitable taxation system
An independent media for us to all enjoy

The Impact

The power of a simple one-to-one conversation can’t be overestimated and the response to every one of our meetings has been remarkable.

From within local media, to the halls of Parliament, we’re making headlines and being spoken about.

And our MPs have appreciated the chance to meet with GetUp members too.

One thing’s for sure: the impact of organising meetings with our representatives will last well beyond our thirty-minute conversations.

It was a good chance to open the lines of communication between GetUp members in Canning and Mr Randall. He didn’t agree with us on many issues, but by laying down the groundwork, it’ll be easier to approach him about important campaigns in the future.

Joyce, GetUp member in Canning

We’ve opened up the lines of communication with MPs across the political spectrum; strengthening existing relationships and revealing new, and even unlikely, allies for the issues we care about in the party-room.

Best of all, this whole experience brought me in contact with a whole bunch of vibrant people who it has been a pleasure to meet and swap ideas with!

Juanita, GetUp member in Wide Bay

Even though many of us didn’t think of ourselves as activists, or had never engaged with decision makers before, we’ve come away from the experience having stepped up to the challenge, learning new skills and connecting with like-minded individuals in our communities along the way.

That’s a new generation of community leaders and volunteers who have been empowered, and are ready to take on the next battle to come our way.

Each meeting has had an impact, and every team has their own unique story to tell.

Take a look at this video to watch two teams of GetUp members talk about meeting with their MP in their own words.

Our next step

But the best news of all? This project is only the beginning.

With over one hundred parliamentarians having sat down to productive meetings with GetUp members, we're now in the best position yet to build upon these relationships that have been formed; relationships we can revisit well into the future.

Together, we demonstrated that being a GetUp member is about so much more than sending emails - it’s about building an active, inclusive and collaborative democracy in our electorate.

Georgia, GetUp member in Melbourne Ports
With each meeting held, we can be sure that every time our MPs rise to speak in parliament or within the party room, they'll do so knowing exactly who they're speaking for and the issues we care about.
That's a win for democracy and something we can all be proud of.

GetUp is powered by everyday people who step up to achieve extraordinary things.

You can help us continue to strengthen the GetUp movement, and fund more campaigns like Meet your MP, by chipping-in with a small donation.

Donate now