The Energy Realists of Australia are about to progress the program that started three years ago with a series of briefing notes to 800+ state and federal members. Some will recall the letter-writing campaign that was a part of the program, whereby volunteers would write to their local member at their electoral address to follow up the mass mail and ensure that the member was aware of the note that was probably buried by his green minders in the Canberra office.
It turned out to be too hard to get useful interactions happening with the local members and the letter-writing stopped.
One aim was to put the pollies in a position where they could never say that nobody gave them good advice to avert disaster, we did not expect very many to change their minds, and certainly not to admit that in public.
That is a very minimal aim and more is required to get a shift in the public mood about energy policy. Hence the plan.
We are now aiming to get more support in local electorates so the members become aware of a groundswell of public opinion in their own electorate. .The thing is to get out of our own bubble .
The first thing is to recruit letter-writers to cover all the Federal representatives. Of course writers will be invited to get to their state member as well. We don’t expect them to take any notice but the point is to put them in a position where they can never say that they were not given access to information that they needed to be realistic about energy policy.
The next thing is to recruit people to be more active, ranging through different levels of commitment to the pinnacle where some people are working practically fulltime.
Two things about this. First, unlike the requests that are made by political parties, the commitment does not involve donating money, spending hours doorknocking, making a public spectacle of yourself or pushing pieces of paper at people who don’t want them.
Second, we are speaking to the condition of people who are upset about their power bills and the threat of blackouts. Unlike the climate realists (and of course we are all climate realists) the commitment does not mean trying to change people’s minds about things that they can’t understand.
We are kicking with the wind and not against it, provided we don’t get sucked into useless confrontations with green fundamentalists.
To summarize the plan at this early stage.
Network of agents of influence
Purpose: To shift the opinions of politicians and the public on energy matters.
- Notes to politicians, continue as before.
- Follow-up from local agents to ensure that they have seen the notes. Build beyond the 70 recruited two years ago.
- Irrigation system to get to the grass roots of the electorate. The twin purposes are to find more people who will personally contact their local member and also to build the body of public opinion in favour of sensible policies.
The dam or reservoir for the system is the body of information in the notes and supporting material on our website
This material will travel through every channel we can find. The big channels are the big lists that reach a large number of people. In addition to the usual suspects like Jim Simpson and Viv Forbes I want to persuade the list of 20 or so liberal/conservative groups -IPA, CIS, Mannkal, Advance Australia, Aust Taxpayers etc to distribute material or advertise our site even if energy is not a part of their portfolio.
Smaller channels are people with local groups, some formed to fight wind farms, anyone with some organizing ability and the initiative and energy to organize a network and especially any good independent candidates from the recent election who are prepared to continue to be active on this front, using the networks and contacts that they formed for their campaigns.
The smallest channels are individuals who are prepared to talk to friends and relations with the benefit of our information.
A critically important initiative that I have not managed to get under way is a youth group using social media to get to their own generation.