Influencing government policy is something that most of us leave up to special interest lobby groups and talkback radio jocks. Yet how often do most of these people represent your opinions, your needs and your vision of the society you live in?
The reason so few of us take the time to engage in the political process - even though its outcomes effect us all - is that the time and effort of getting involved is seen as too great, either because barriers to being noticed are too high, or because we realise that the chances of our single voice making a difference are pretty slight.
A communications tool, developed by Internetrix, was launched this month by the Illawarra Business Chamber that aims to eradicate the difficulties in joining a campaign by putting the power to express your opinion quickly, easily and effectively in your hands.
The IBC, along with other groups including the Australian Industry Group, forms a part of the Illawarra Alliance. The Alliance is working hard to secure political support for the construction of a Container and General Cargo terminal at Port Kembla, just south of Wollongong. This development would create thousands of jobs locally while also reducing the stress of container and cargo movements through Sydney's already congested road networks.
Using the internet was a natural evolution in this struggle to ensure common-sense prevailed against other factors in this important decision.
The solution involves utilising the IBC website to put forward the case, and then an invitation to sign the petition.
If the signatory has an email address, they are presented the email campaign component, which features personalization and of a petition document which is then automatically emailed to a dozen relevant politicians and representatives.
Finally, once someone has signed onto the petition, they have the option of entering the names and email addresses of their friends and associates, which then emails them and invites them to sign onto the petition themselves, with a link through to the website.
If you want to try it our yourself, visit the Online Petition at www.illawarrabusiness.com