I have come to the conclusion that there are three things that need to be done by anyone who is trying to get Australians to say yes to stiffer penalties for polluters.
Firstly, in order to get Australians to say yes to stiffer penalties for polluters, you have to ensure that the person used to send the appeal is credible enough. This has to be a person whom the Australians you are trying to convince find appealing. More often than not, people buy into the messenger before they buy into the message. Actually, in many cases, people have to buy into the messenger, before they can buy into the message. Thus if you make a poor choice of a messenger, you may end up in a situation where people have difficulties buying into the appeal (for stiffer penalties). For instance, if you use someone who clearly represents certain (well-known) vested interests in ‘clean energy’ in proposing the stiffer penalties for polluters, people will have difficulties buying into that message. They will be under the impression that the person is proposing the stiffer penalties for polluters in order to create a market for his or her ‘clean energy’ products.
Secondly, in order to get Australians to say yes to stiffer penalties for polluters, you have to use simple language in the appeal. This means that you have to avoid using jargon. You also need to avoid using language that is too formal or too stiff. But you must also not go to the other extreme, and use ‘street’ language that is too simplified: otherwise folks will get the impression that you are taking them to be ‘simpletons’, and then they will have difficulties buying into your message.
Thirdly, in order to get Australians to say to stiffer penalties for polluters, you have to appeal to their individual self-interests. This is to say that you have to show the individual Australians how pollution affects them (personally). Then you need to demonstrate to them, convincingly, how stiffer penalties for polluters can lead to reduction in pollution levels. The latter aspect is important, because the connections between these things are not always as obvious as we imagine. The connection between stiffer penalties for polluters and reduced pollution levels is not self-evident: it needs to be pointed out to an audience.