Engaging your local Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate

Dementia Australia - Engaging your local candidate this election

You too can make change happen

At any point in time, you can play an active role in influencing politicians so that people impacted by dementia receive the care and support that they need and deserve.

The number of Australians impacted by dementia is growing exponentially. We need immediate action so that the needs of people living with dementia get the due consideration of our decision makers.

To make the process easy and effective for you, we have prepared the following handy guide. In the 10 minutes it takes to read this, you will know both what to say and how to be heard. 

Key Facts – What to say

Dementia is the second leading cause of death for all Australians and number one cause of death for Australian women.

In 2021, there are an estimated 472,000 Australians living with dementia1. This figure is projected to increase to almost 1.1 million people by 20581.

It has been estimated that in 2018 dementia cost Australia more than $15 billion. By 2025, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase to $18.7 billion in today’s dollars, and by 2056, to more than $36.8 billion2.

You can click through these links for more key facts and statistics, more on dementia prevalence data and the 2021 dementia prevalence data for each federal electorate.

What to say - Quality Dementia Care

Dementia is not core business in the majority of aged care settings despite the fact 68% of residents known to have moderate to severe cognitive impairment.

At present, people living with dementia and their carers are not at the centre of service planning, delivery, feedback and evaluation.
The Aged Care Quality Standards do not adequately address the needs of people living with dementia, their families or carers, nor does it capture outcomes measures and quality indicators.

All Australians need to have confidence and trust in our aged care system. We rely on it to care for our loved ones. We all want to have faith in a system that will care for us if or when we will need to call on it.

We have the opportunity to transform the system, to truly commit to making a profound and lasting difference to the lives of all Australians impacted by dementia.

To find out more about Dementia Australia’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety please read Dementia Australia’s Roadmap to Quality Dementia Care.

To keep up-to-date with Dementia Australia’s response to developments from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety please visit our media release webpage.

Quick Tips - How to be heard

Here are some ways you can have your say:

  • Organise a meeting with your local Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate
  • Call or write an email or letter to your Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate
  • Engage them in conversation at an event or whilst they are out in the community
  • Contact them via social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Call or text your local talkback radio station
  • Enrol to vote

Whether you do one or all of these things, every action and every conversation makes a difference. The most important thing is to have your say. Ask what your Member of Parliament, Senator or local candidate are doing or will do to support people impacted by dementia.

Remember, politicians represent you and candidates want to represent you. To effectively do this they need to know about the issues that are most important to you and your community.

Be prepared to share your personal experience with dementia – this will help demonstrate the importance of the issue.

If you have any questions, or have a great idea on how to engage with a Member of Parliament, Senator or candidate but need a little help, please get in touch with the Dementia Australia team at [email protected]

General questions and advice

Who is my local Member of Parliament and how can I contact them?

You can find your local Federal Member of Parliament and their contact details by searching the Parliament of Australia website.

State and Territory Members of Parliament and their contact details can be found by searching the relevant state and territory parliament websites listed below: 

New South Wales (NSW)
Victoria (VIC)
Queensland (QLD)
Tasmania (TAS)
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
South Australia (SA) 
Western Australia (WA) 
Northern Territory (NT) 
 


How do I reach Members of Parliament or political candidates via social media?

Download our social media pack

More than 472000 Australians are living with dementia Dementia is estimated to cost Australia more than $15 billion per year
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia Dementia is the leading cause of death of Australian women and the 2nd leading cause of death of Australians

Request a meeting

Phone or email your Member of Parliament, Senator or local candidate to request a meeting. Politicians can be busy people, but even if you don’t get a time to see them, leave or send a detailed message for staff to communicate to them. This helps raise awareness of dementia in the community.


Letter / Email Tips

Template letter/email to your Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate.

Please consider personalising the text provided. If you have been impacted by dementia don’t forget to include that.


Call or text your local talkback radio station

A great way to help bring attention to issues related to dementia is to discuss them on your local talkback radio station.

List of talkback radio station phone and SMS numbers

Some tips and advice for calling talkback radio stations:

  • Allow for plenty of time. Sometimes the producer who answers the call may ask you to wait on the phone for up to 5-10 minutes until they are able to put you through to speak live on-air
  • Consider writing down a couple of points you wish to bring up during your phone call
  • Unfortunately the show may not always be able to take your call. If this is the case, consider trying again another day
  • Try to call when the presenter is seeking talkback calls about a topic related to dementia such as health or ageing
  • Radio programs will regularly interview political candidates during election times. This is often a perfect time to call as you may have the opportunity to discuss dementia with a candidate live-on-air

Engage candidates in conversation at an event or out in the community

Candidates are everywhere during election periods. Check your candidate’s website or social media page for any events they might be attending locally.

You might also see them at the local supermarket, train station, or they may even come to your door. This is a great opportunity to raise the issue of dementia in your community.

Be prepared to share your personal experience with dementia – this will help demonstrate the importance of the issue.

Sample script:

Hi, my name is [Insert name], and I have been impacted by dementia.

Q: Are you aware that the prevalence of dementia is growing significantly in Australia?

Q: What is your party doing to ensure that people impacted by dementia receive the care and support they need?


Give them a call

When giving your Member of Parliament, Senator or local candidate a call, have a clear idea of what topics and issues you would like to raise with them. If you are unable to speak with them directly, you can leave a message with one of their staff members and send them a follow-up email or letter. 

Sample script:

Hi, my name is [Insert name], I am one of your electorate members and I have been impacted by dementia. Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians and the third leading cause of disability overall.

Q: Are you aware that the prevalence of dementia is growing significantly in Australia?

Q: What steps will you take to ensure that people impacted by dementia receive the care and support they need?
 


Follow up with Dementia Australia

Thank you for taking action and calling on your local Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate to address the needs of those living with and affected by dementia.

After you have made contact with them please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. Let us know how your conversation went and if you would like any further guidance.


1 Dementia Australia (2018) Dementia Prevalence Data 2018-2058, commissioned research undertaken by NATSEM, University of Canberra
2 The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016–2056