Here’s the first in our series on reducing unnecessary mail. How to stop election campaign and political party “junk” mail.Since the Queensland State & Local Elections were recently called, our mailboxes are groaning with the weight of materials aimed at getting our vote. It may be the electronic era, but it seems that a piece of paper in your letterbox is still considered the most effective way of getting a message across. We do feel it is important that every voter gets to read first-hand the policies of each party, afterall, a well-informed vote has to produce a better outcome for our democracy.
However, there appears to be a huge amount of over-sending junk mail for political purposes – and no clear way on how to fix this. It is clear there needs to be a national solution implemented to stop this unnecessary waste.
- You can not stop official letters from the Electoral Commission – but, can you stop personally addressed mail from political parties?
- Politicians and political parties are provided with the Electoral roll to use “for any purpose in connection with an election or referendum”.
- Material deemed to be political, educational, religious and charitable is exempt from “No Junk Mail” signed letterboxes according to standards developed by the Australian Catalogue Association.
Step 1. Incorrectly addressed Electoral Commission and political mail
Much of your mail may be addressed to past occupants. You need to “return this to sender” with the note “no longer at this address”. The Member you send it back to has the responsibility to inform the Electoral Commission.
Step 2. Contact each political party or politician that is mailing you
We received three different answers from three Member’s offices on what is possible. The issue appears to be mailings they send using addresses sourced from the electoral roll, which gives them the right to consider those as “official”. Some appear willing to take you off their system for for “general” mail, but not “electoral” mail! Bottom line, you will need to call each sender and ask to be removed from their mailing list, which may or may not work for all their mailings!
Step 3. Stopping political junk mail
These brochures are printed in their thousands and millions up to months before an election and then haphazardly in the weeks before (with a declining level of intelligent content!). We would love to know how political parties set the quantities for printing this junk mail? What are the figures on how much is never delivered/wasted? Why isn’t there a national standard limiting the number of pieces they are allowed to put in each household’s letterbox?
Our solution: the Electoral Commission sends out one package of information to every household, into which each candidate is allowed to put their one piece of material outlining their policies. Done!
What’s your solution?
P.S. Don’t forget to recycle any materials you do receive – often the Greens have a box at the booths for such materials on polling day!