Against the Wind is an initiative of members of Woden Valley Uniting Church and people concerned with justice. It is endorsed by Church Council but acts independently.
Why a new advocacy organisation now?
The political situation in Australia is deteriorating. Corruption and the influence of vested interests is growing in government. As a result, many people feel helpless and don’t know what to do. Against the Wind, by mobilising the strength of ordinary people, says that Yes, there are things that we can do, even if our bit is only small. It is Against the Wind’s belief that the more people become involved in informed advocacy, the stronger our democracy will be. We do not intend to replace current advocacy groups but to complement and further support them.
Its initial objectives are to advocate for:
A fairer and non-exploitative Australian legislation and policy at all tiers of government
Issues that are getting little support in Government or for which there are few advocates.
A fairer and kinder Australia in the world that includes but is not restricted to
An end to the export of arms and defence equipment to countries engaged in human rights violations or war crimes, or wars of offence or subjugation.
An increase in foreign aid to 1% of GDP
Less corruption and greater transparency in government
An increase in humanitarian visas and more generous support of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
An end to poverty in Australia.
Its goals for for the first year:
Organize 5 public seminars on issues in need of advocacy which might include
Nuclear Military Submarines (AUKUS agreement)
Increasing foreign aid for peace
Reducing poverty: increasing unemployment and student payments
Ending government support for the arms industry
Better support for asylum seekers and refugees
By the end of 2022, it is hoped that Against the Wind will be an incorporated body within the ACT. Though having its origin in the Woden Valley Uniting Church, its management committee will include members of the community who are passionate about at least one of the Against the Wind’s objectives as well as WVUC members.
Currently Against the Wind has 42 members. We hope to have 300 members by the end of 2022. Currently membership is free, but when Against the Wind becomes incorporated, there will be a small fee, probably round $10 per year. It is expected that members would support at least one of the objectives, though not necessarily all. This is after all a complex area. As new members join and opportunities arise, debate on policy will be encouraged and existing objectives may be refined and new objectives embraced. Members can get as involved as much or as little as they want. Just by joining and doing nothing else, you give credibility to the organisation when it is advocating on an issue.
Against the Wind has written to the Hon. Senator Zed Seselja in support of the call by Christians United for Afghanistan for:
“An intake of an additional 20,000 refugees focused on those most at risk from the Taliban, and provide additional Home Affairs immigration and settlement services, to ensure the continued processing of claims from other refugee communities.”
The letter noted the announcement by Minister Hawke on the 21st which purported to be about an increased allocation of places for Afghan refugees. It also noted Rev Tim Costello’s response in which he described the announcement as “smoke and mirrors” and “mean and tricky”.
Senator Seselja was urged to lobby both Cabinet and his colleagues for a more just and compassionate approach. As of 28 March (2 months later), Senator Seselja has not replied to our communication.
Members attended the recent rally organised by the Refugee Action committee and the Afghan community in support of Afghani families. The rally was held on the lawns in front of Parliament House. The event was well attended despite the re-emergence of Covid and the rather worrying presence of an anti-vaxer rally nearby.
The rally was notable for the large number of Hazaras who attended. Hazaras are considered to be one of the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan, and their persecution has occurred at various times across previous decades. Unfortunately, the Australian government has generally been unsympathetic to the plight of the Hazaras as the various banners in the photos below show.
Initial facilitators of Against the Wind
Len Baglow: Former environmental activist and social policy advocate; hit by chronic illness but firing fiercely on three cylinders. Follow Len on twitter @LenBaglow
Joan Palmer: Bolshie Australian Scot; cook and catalyst. At our functions there will be good food and change.
Want to Join?
Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and stating that you support at least one of Against the Wind’s objectives.
You don’t have to do anything more. Simply by adding your name you give strength to our arm and help Against the Wind gain credibility.
However, if you want to become more involved, you are also most welcome and there will be ample opportunities, especially in a new organisation just starting up.
If you have questions, you can also send us an email on email@example.com .