Federal

Dec 16, 2009

Bernard Keane’s guide to writing to Ministers

Want to vent your fury about net censorship? Bernard Keane offers some tips for making your correspondence to your local MP as painful as possible, drawn from his sordid, blood-soaked and adventure-filled time as a public servant.

Bernard Keane ā€” Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

If your first instinct upon hearing about the Rudd-Conroy plan to censor the internet is to email Stephen Conroy, your local member and Labor senators from your state to protest, wait up.

Or, in fact, do it anyway, then read this.

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47 comments

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47 thoughts on “Bernard Keane’s guide to writing to Ministers

  1. Michael

    Sounds like a snail mail DDoS attack!

  2. David Sanderson

    There is a devil in that boy.

    I think Bernard has just created an enormous new demand for advanced letter writing software. If you’re a software writer you will be able to charge an exorbitant price so that the bureaucrats can avoid the buck-passing hell described above.

    I assume that Bernard is not looking to return to the public service any time soon.

  3. deccles

    Bernard, thank you. I was half way through composing my rant to Kevin, Kelvin and Stephen last night but decided, I’ll just get a snarky pro forma reply from their staff. The first Conroy pro forma I got was positively rude. I can’t imagine what he sent to those not from Victoria…

    I shall indeed spend some effort crafting a letter than needs input on NBN Cleanfeed, Telstra plus some local and global issues.

    I am lightheaded with joy, malevovent joy, but joy none the less.

  4. paddy

    Well done Bernard, that’s a beautiful article that will, no doubt, be causing untold angst in just the right offices.

    Hell, even Australia Post will love you. šŸ™‚

  5. Malcolm Street

    You’re a wicked, twisted man Bernard šŸ˜‰

  6. chinda63

    Speaking as someone who works in the biz, you got it spot on.

    And there will be a few department heads (not to mention Ministers) who will want your guts for garters for telling the plebs about it.

    Stuff ’em. It’s what we pay very good money for and it’s time they started listening to the masses instead of the minority Bible-bashing lobby.

  7. acannon

    So if no MPs ever actually read their correspondence, how is it that they all claim to have their finger on the pulse of their electorate’s views?

    Another deeply disheartening fact about our political system.

    It seems a shame that a time-wasting strategy is the only way we have to try an influence our politicians.

  8. Rachel Davies

    Ah the good old days when we weren’t allowed to bin any letters received by the Minister…. I still treasure the memory of a (justifiable) rant to one of Bob Hawke’s ministers. Minister actually did read the letter and was so incensed that he hand wrote a very rude paragraph in reply at the bottom of the letter, then marked the whole thing ‘for Departmental response, including the above’. We were a bit perplexed. The language the Minister had used was not at all what we were used to. The end product was a courteous introduction and conclusion, addressing the letter writer’s concerns, book ending the Minister’s words, which were properly attributed. A fun day at the office.

  9. Alison White

    Fantastic tips.

    While I am crikey subscriber, I’m sending this link to friends to distribute this message widely…so thanks for not putting this story behind the paywall šŸ™‚

  10. VJzoo

    Ministerials are excellent for clogging up the works. I used to be a CES Jobcentre Manager, with the unfortunate coincidence that our office was next door to the local member’s office. If I cut someone’s dole off because they’d repeatedly refused to go for a job, they’d march in next door and I’d be faced with a Ministerial within a few days. Which would take up hours of my time (and obviously a lot of other peoples in between). They wouldn’t get their dole reinstated, but they’d got some revenge by making my day a whole lot worse.

    I think Conroy’s office deserves a bit of that treatment šŸ™‚

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