This essay will explore a small local tenant groups attempts at an advocacy campaign in which members attempt to lobby the Queensland State government for car space coverage to protect their vehicles. The focus group are all residents of a government housing estate who have been encouraged by their local office to form the Wallace Apartment Tenant Action Group (WATAG) with the belief that tenant participation is the best way for public housing tenants to voice their opinions on issues regarding their housing and community.
According the Queensland Department of Housing (2006, p.2) local tenant groups ÃÂprovide a voice in regards to issues which affect them whilst actively empowering tenants participating in the decision making processes and lobbying for improvements to their communityÃÂ. In the practice of advocacy, empowerment is based on the belief that ÃÂindividuals have strengths to acquire knowledge, become assertive and develop skills (Schneider & Lester, 2001, p.122)
therefore groups like WATAG are empowered to actively participate in lobbying for improvements to their community and in influencing the decision making processes which relate to their tenancy. Whilst the Queensland Department of Housing may encourage an interest in local tenant participation, WATAGÃÂs relationship with the government office has so far been minimal. The group have little knowledge of the departmentÃÂs operations and are apprehensive about their first lobby campaign.
Whilst there is some argument as to the correct definition of advocacy, taking on an advocacy role generally means acting on behalf of the community, a group or an individual (Mickelson, cited in Schneider & Lester, 2001, p.62), and is therefore essentially the process of protecting human rights, obtaining or restoring social justice and ÃÂseeking to change discriminatory or abusive treatment to the vulnerable or disadvantagedÃÂ (Corey, Corey & Callanan, 1998). However WATAG lobbies for and self-represents its own...