Talking to your local Member of Parliament is sometimes the best way to have your say in federal politics. But what is a Member of Parliament? How did they get to that position?
Reginald and the Generally Pleasant Party
Years ago, Reginald joined the local branch of the Generally Pleasant Party, as he was interested in many of their policies.
In the years since, Reginald has continued his involvement with the Generally Pleasant Party. He is quite well regarded by many members in the community, due to his pleasant nature and his willingness to listen to the problems of others.
The person representing an electorate in the House of Representatives is known as a Member of Parliament. In this case they would be the Member for Houghnice.
It is worth noting that every party has its own policy when it comes to pre-selections. For example, some parties may allow the entire membership a direct vote for their preferred candidate. Others may elect delegates to vote on behalf of the broader membership. Others still may allow the wider community to select their candidate in what is called a “primary.”
This year, Reginald wins the Generally Pleasant Party’s pre-selection. Reginald is excited about this, as he will have the resources of the wider Generally Pleasant Party at his disposal for his election campaign.
When the election is called, Reginald lodges his nomination to the electoral commission as the official candidate of the Generally Pleasant Party for the electorate of Houghnice.
Because he is the official candidate of the Generally Pleasant Party in Houghnice, the party’s name will appear next to his on the ballot paper, and he can use the party’s name in his electoral material.
During the campaign, Reginald meets with people in his electorate and asks them what policies are important to them. He writes letters to the newspaper, appears in debates with other candidates, and the Generally Pleasant Party holds events such as barbecues and rallies to support him. Reginald talks to the people attending these events about how important he thinks niceness is to policy. Niceness is his area of expertise, and it is important to the people of Houghnice.
Reginald Personson is supported within his community, and the Generally Pleasant Party’s policies resonate with many of the people in Houghnice, who vote for Reginald as their preferred candidate.
Reginald is declared the winner, and when the Parliament next sits, he is sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
As the new Member for Houghnice, Reginald sits in Parliament with the Generally Pleasant Party, and represents the electorate of Houghnice. We will explore more of what Reginald’s new role will entail in a future blog post.
Who’s your local member?
If you have a concern regarding federal policy, often the best person to have represent your interests in Parliament is your local member. Do you know who your local member is?
In order to find out who your local member is, you must first know what electorate you live in. This is different to your city or town, as electorates are split up into (roughly) evenly populated geographical areas, so major cities will be made up of several electorates. You can enter your post code here to find your electorate.
Follow the link to read the next political Decipher blog post, Decipher: Parliamentary Committees