Tips for grassroots dementia advocacy

How to contact your local Member of Parliament or media about issues important to you

Whether you do one or some of the tips included on this page, every action and every conversation makes a difference at any time of the year. The most important thing is to have your say.

The key is to prepare what you want to say or ask, below are some links and resources to help you.

Quick and easy actions you can take now


Post on social media

Post about your experience with dementia and explain why dementia matters to you.

You can also download our social media pack or use one of our social media tiles.

More than 472000 Australians are living with dementia Dementia is the leading cause of death of Australian women and the 2nd leading cause of death of Australians

Text or call your local talkback station

A great way to bring attention to dementia is to raise the topic on your local talkback radio station.

List of talkback radio station phone and SMS numbers

Tips and advice for talkback radio

  • 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
     

Write a letter to the Editor of your local paper

Writing a letter to your local newspaper is another good way to bring attention to dementia.

Most local newspaper’s have a letter to the Editor submission form on their website that steps you through the process.
 


Find out who is your local parliamentary representative

You can find federal parliamentarian information and 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)

During an election campaign candidate details are listed on the relevant federal, state and territory electoral commission websites.
 


Send them a message on social media

Send a short message on social media to your local Federal Member of Parliament, Senator or political candidate explaining why dementia is important to you.v

Sample message:

Hi, my name is [Insert name], I am one of your electorate members and I have been impacted by dementia.
[Insert 1-2 sentences about how you have been impacted by dementia]

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


Write a letter or send them an email

Use our template letter/email to contact 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.
 


Make a call to their electorate office

Consider calling your local Member of Parliament, Senator or local candidate to talk about dementia. When calling have a clear idea of what topics and issues you would like to raise. 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 second leading cause of death of Australians and the leading cause of death for women.

Q: How is planning for the increasing prevalence of dementia factored into your policy platform?

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

Q: Are you a Dementia Friend? If not, let me show you how

Q: With 70 per cent of people living with dementia living in the community, do you seek out people with a lived experience of dementia to include them in your events and community consultations?


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 and that it is an issue of importance to electorate members.
 


Attend scheduled community events where you might have the opportunity to ask them a question

All candidates are everywhere during election periods. Check your candidates’ 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 with your ‘elevator pitch’. This means be prepared to speak about what matters to you most in a concise manner. You might not have much time with them. A good approach is to have your top three points clear in your mind or even written on a piece of paper to keep in your bag or wallet.

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 second leading cause of death of Australians and the leading cause of death for women.

Q: How is planning for the increasing prevalence of dementia factored into your policy platform?

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


Make sure you are enrolled to vote

You can check if you are enrolled at aec.gov.au/enrol/
 


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 DementiaAustraliamedia@dementia.org.au. Let us know how your conversation went and if you would like any further guidance.
 


Interested in doing more?

Dementia Advocates program

People living with dementia, as well as carers and former carers of people with dementia can become a Dementia Advocate.

Dementia Australia and Dementia Advocates work together to raise awareness of dementia, to tackle stigma and discrimination, and to influence decision-makers across government and the aged care and disability sectors.

Interested? Find out more
 


Dementia-Friendly Communities

The majority of people with dementia live in a community. But many communities don’t really understand what dementia is or how it can affect someone. This may lead to people living with dementia, their families and carers feeling socially isolated.

The good news is that with the support of their communities, people living with dementia can continue to live the life they choose. They can continue to engage in the activities that are important to them.

In a dementia-friendly community people have an understanding of dementia. They raise awareness of the needs of people living with dementia in the community.

Find out more about Dementia-Friendly Communities and how you can get involved.