Experiences From the Community


Community members in Victoria’s Eastern Metropolitan Region share their experiences raising issues with their local MPs, participating in parliamentary and law-making processes and election campaigns.

We also spoke to an Electoral Office staff member to learn more about how an MP can support and serve the electorate they are elected to represent.

Accompanying these interviews are further links you can access to continue your learning and understanding of these topics.

1. Meet an Electoral Officer

Rachel is an Electorate Officer with many years of experience working with MPs and serving the community. She currently works with an MP in Victoria’s Eastern Metropolitan Region. She explains what she does in her role, clears up misconceptions of what a MP can and can’t help with, and shares some advice for those who might be hesitant or unsure on how to connect with their local MP.

If you want to know which Electorate or Region you are in, visit this page.

2. Engaging Your MP To Support Your Community’s Needs

Piang Lilian is a community leader from the Burmese Chin community. He shares why building relationships and inviting your local MP into your community can be an important first step in getting them to support you with your communities’ needs. Listen on to learn how he managed to source funding to build a much-needed community centre for the Burmese Chin community.

Piang Lilian

Here are some organisations that you can apply for funding and grants for your community’s needs: The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV), The Victorian Multicultural Commission, and an extensive list from the Victorian government here.

3. Raising an Issue With Your Local MP

Sana Hosseini is a local mortgage broker from the Bahá’í community. Housing affordability is an issue that Sana is passionate about. He takes us through his experience raising his concerns about this issue to his MP. He talks about how he made contact with the MP and the positive outcome that he was met with. He also shares his thoughts on why it is our responsibility as active citizens to raise matters of concern to our local MPs.

Sana Hosseini

Find out who your local MPs in the Lower House and Upper House are. Learn more about how a law is made.

4. Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Inquiry

Dilnaz Billimoria is a proud woman of colour and faith who has called Melbourne home for over 20 years. In that time, she has engaged with Parliament and MPs in many different ways. Here, she shares her experience making a submission for a parliamentary inquiry on elder abuse.

Dilnaz Billimoria

Visit the Parliament of Victoria’s Committee page for a full list of current committees and inquiries. Want to make a submission? Learn how to do so in this guide.

5. Representing Your Community in Decision-Making

Saarah Ozeer is a multi-faceted young community leader and social justice and human rights advocate. She recently ran in her local council elections. She shares her experiences with us on why she felt compelled to run and represent her local community on the Council, her thoughts on the importance of diversity and representation in places where decisions are made, and also some advice for those of you who might consider going down a similar path.

Saarah Ozeer

Interested in running for a local council election? Learn how here.

6. Getting Involved in Politics

Amad Kazi is mostly known from his time volunteering at the United Muslim Migrant Association Center. Hear from Amad as he shares his experience working as a campaign manager for a federal election, within a branch of a political party and why he encourages members from diverse communities to get involved in political processes.

Amad Kazi

Would you like to be involved in supporting a political campaign? Learn more about how you can do so, here and here.

The Engaging Communities in Democracy Project is a partnership project between Eastern Community Legal Centre and Parliament of Victoria. The project is indebted to community leaders who have generously shared their knowledge, expertise and lived-experiences of accessing and participating in the parliamentary system. It is hoped that the co-design and rigorous feedback loop undertaken during the development of this Toolkit will ensure it is useful and impactful for community members, electorate officers and MPs.

The Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from the following communities and organisations; Chin Community Victoria, Bohri Dawoodi Muslim faith group, Bahai Assembly, Zorastrian faith group, Hindu faith group, Indiancare, Bounce refugee mentoring program, Chinese Health Foundation, Zomi community, Whitehorse Interfaith Network, Maroondah Interfaith Network, Manningham Interfaith Network and Boroondara Interfaith Network.