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It’s Up to Us – have your say on Australia’s future in 60 seconds

Feb 21, 2017

Introduction by the Campaign for Australian Aid
In 2016, the world received a harsh wakeup call – we saw the rise to power of Donald Trump and growing support for nationalist and isolationist views from people such as Pauline Hanson, Rodrigo Duterte and Nigel Farage. We watched the heartbreaking situation in Aleppo, the horrific and inhumane treatment of people on Manus and Nauru and the Government’s lack of leadership on climate change. For most of us, 2016 was one big horror film that kept on dishing up the scares.

But we can’t afford to give up or give in because the stakes have never been higher and the importance of people power has never been more important. That is one of the reasons we’re reshaping the Campaign for Australian Aid as “Up To Us”. Up To Us is a community of people who lead the resistance to nationalism and isolationism and who support an internationalist approach to tackling global issues such as climate change, inequality, and poverty.  We are harnessing people power toward a vision for a fairer world.

Late last year, we spoke about an incredible opportunity for every Australian to have their voice heard. Right now, the Government is writing a long-term plan for Australia’s foreign policy – they’re calling it a “White Paper.” This White Paper will guide the way Australia engages with the rest of the world. Make no mistake: we’re living in one of the most turbulent periods in history. It’s vital that the Government listens to all Australians and develops a plan that reflects our views. This means it is critical that people like you and your friends and family have your say on shaping the kind of world we want to live in and the role Australia should have in making your vision a reality.

You can have your say today, just by taking the 60 second #UpToUs survey to create a submission to the Government: www.uptous.org.au/APHEDA

After you take the 60 second survey, a submission will be generated based on your answers. If you are looking for other issues to raise in your submission, here are a here’s list of the issues that are important to Union Aid Abroad APHEDA:

  • Global inequality is on the rise – and in many poor countries in our region, corporate tax avoidance, poor investment in health and education and low rates of unionised workers, drive deeper inequality.
  • Climate change is creating a crisis – not just for the sinking Pacific islands or extreme weather events in the Philippines and elsewhere, but also in food and water production and supply, rising costs of energy and too slow an ‘energy transition’. The impact of heat at work is set to massively impact those of us who work outdoors, everyone from construction workers in Australia or Cambodia to the millions of small scale farmers in the Asia-Pacific region!
  • Entrenched conflict in the Middle East has driven the global refugee crisis– from Palestine to Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In part these conflicts are known to be linked to the climate crisis and related to food and water.
  • Massive pressure on unions and other social justice organisers from authoritarian regimes who ignore rule of law and make democratic organising impossible.
  • An Australian aid program that explicitly promotes Australian business opportunities and creates new ways for for-profit companies to ‘manage’ aid contracts, taking the lion’s share over people in need.
  • Free trade agreements undermining labour rights and citizen control over essential services like health and medicine.
  • Asbestos use on the rise across Asia, jeopardising our own ban on asbestos through illegal imports.

We want the Australian government to provide the political leadership with countries all around the world to tackle problems like:

  • Promote corporate tax – fair and enforceable – all around the world;
  • Promote government funded health and education programs and local tax systems which fund essential services;
  • Ambitious climate targets and stop the climate change denial;
  • Adherence to our international obligations under international refugee law and provide a refugee program which reflects our fair share of refugees internationally;
  • Reject authoritarianism and promote the right for democratic organisations including unions to support the demands of the marginalised;
  • Re-direct our overseas aid program to poverty alleviation and organisations that are proven to achieve it, stop ‘commercial-in-confidence’ secrecy provisions for big business contracts;
  • ‘Fair trade’ principles in all trade agreements;
  • Ensure that all countries in Asia-Pacific move to ban asbestos and ensure no Australian aid funds asbestos-containing products in major infrastructure projects.
  • Settle the ongoing dispute over the Timor Sea maritime boundary with Timor Leste’s government immediately.

Take the survey: www.uptous.org.au/APHEDA

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