Advocacy is about communicating your ideas and opinions to key decision-makers – within your community or at a national level, by writing letters to the editor, talking with your local MP, speaking at public forums, liaising with local body politicians, calling talkback radio or building relationships with the media.
The media are key to influencing public attitudes and provide an opportunity to put the community's perspective alongside other alcohol viewpoints. Letters to the editor provide an excellent platform for placing alcohol issues before a wide cross-section of society and for countering opposing views.
As a proactive approach to community advocacy, consider publishing an opinion editorial on your issue in a newspaper or magazine. Free community newspapers are excellent forums for issues of local interest and are usually well read.
Consider holding a public meeting and ensure the media attend. Talk with local council and community board members. Foster relationships with influential community members.
There are several avenues in political advocacy. Making contact with your local MP is a good start; as a member of their constituency, your views will matter to them. You can either arrange to meet them in person or write to them. A public petition to the government or a signed position paper can be submitted to relevant ministers. These provide a good basis for ongoing debate and discussion.