Writing Letters




The aim of our letter-writing group is to communicate with politicians and those with influence to help them to understand the inhumane actions by the Australian government in indefinite off-shore detention and the continuing suffering of refugees and people seeking asylum both on & off-shore.

The group may also write to those in detention, both on and off-shore, in support and friendship.

The group will discuss writing tips as well as addresses for politicians

If you wish to be part of this group find out more through our contact page.


(thanks to RefugeeConnect for much of this information)

Write your own letters to politicians & people of influence

These are a few things to keep in mind when writing to politicians and people of influence.

A physical letter can add more weight to your message.  However, email communication is also very useful.

A few points to remember

To start

  • get the correct address – addresses for politicians
  • use the correct title- MP or Senator & The Hon. (if they’ve been a government minister)
    • for Ministers – Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name MP (or The Hon.Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name MP)
    • for Senators  – Senator First Name Last name (or Senator The Hon.Mr/Mr/Ms/DR First Name Last name)
  • Start your letter as follow
    • ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘Dear Mr/Mr/Ms/DR Last name’ in the case of MPs
    • ‘Dear Senator’ or ‘Dear Senator Last name’ in the case of Senators


  •  Begin with an introduction of who you are and why you are writing to them.
    • Mention if you are in their electorate.  Include your membership or involvement with of any groups or community organisations such as service clubs, community groups, business groups, charity organisations etc .  These will help to establish your connections in the community and hence your credibility.
    • Start with a short explanation of the issue that you are writing to them about.
    • You may mention some of the positive things you feel the politician or their party have done.  This will help to establish that you are not completely against all that they do.

Body of the letter

  • Keep it brief
    • Politicians are busy and have a lot to read.  If it is too long it will only get a cursory reading.  Try to keep to one page if possible
  • Make it clear
    • Use simple language – you’re writing to get your message across, not to impress with your vocabulary
    • Use your own words.  If you are using a pre-written letter from an organisation change the words into your own.  It will flow more naturally help it to stand out.
    • Set out the points clearly – use dot points if suitable – add any relevant documentation or references.  Facts and figures can add weight to your message
    • All your points and information should be relevant to the issue.  Don’t bring up other issues or digress into other
  • Be respectful and polite – your aim is to persuade – not belittle or berate. It will not get read if the tone is aggressive.


  • Restate what issue is that you are calling for a change to.
  • Say what you believe should happen – remember ‘respectful and polite’.
  • Provide contact details and what is your preferred mode of communication.
    • The more options they have, the more likely you’ll get a prompt reply.


  • Be patient. Politicians may receive hundreds of letters, particularly if it’s a current and contentious issue.  It could take up to a month for a reply.
  • If you have not received a reply after a month
    • ring or email them to remind them of your letter and ask when you expect a reply – remember ‘respectful and polite’.
    • Keep trying until you get a response.  Persistent & polite. Remember that an MP is employed by you and it is their responsibility to communicate with you.

If you want more information communicate with us via our contact page.


Write your own letters to refugees


Whether you are writing to child or an adult there are a few things that are similar in approach.  There are, of course, some things that are also very different.

Firstly, their command of English may not be very strong – this applies to both children and adults.  Keep the language very simple and clear.

If typing use a large clear font to make it as easy to read as possible.  If handwritten, print clearly – do not use running writing (cursive).

To start

  • Introduce yourself
    • your age, family situation/position
    • where you live – what the area is like – beach, suburb, rural, village, farm
      • to adults – you may mention your occupation
      • to children – you can talk about activities, sport, hobbies
    • to both children and adults talk about you interests

What to say

Be friendly and supportive.  You want your communication to be a distraction from their situation.

Let them know there are lots of people interested in them and their lives.

Discuss their traditional foods, music, culture etc.

Follow on from their conversations.

Be positive without raising unreasonable hope.  Steer them away from dwelling on the negatives.

Drawings, pictures, photos, poems and lots of colour and decoration can add to the excitement of receiving the letter.

What not to say

Be culturally sensitive

  • if unsure whether to mention something – don’t
  • Politics, sex or religion are all are potential danger areas that can lead to misunderstandings and barriers to friendly communication
  • Don’t ask about conditions – this will only help them to focus on the negatives
  • Don’t discuss their prospects.  Although it is good to keep them hopeful it is unwise to unreasonably raise their hopes which could lead to depression if these hopes are not realised.
  • Their exit from their homeland and the trip so far may have been extremely traumatic so avoid this topic.  However, follow their lead if they feel the need to share the story.

Remember they may be traumatised so the need for tact and sensitivity is paramount.

Apart from all of the above, communicating with a refugee or a person seeking asylum can be a very rewarding experience. We can learn so much about other cultures and can form true friendships.  To be able to let a person know that others care for their well-being and want to welcome them is a valuable gift.

If you want more information communicate with us via our contact page.