Against the Wind

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:

  1. A fairer and non-exploitative Australian legislation and policy at all tiers of government.
  2. Issues that are getting little support in Government or for which there are few advocates.
  3. 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; and
  • An end to poverty in Australia.

Its goals for the first couple of years are:

* Organise several 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, and

  • Better support for asylum seekers and refugees.

* Support other organisations and individuals who are already advocating in these areas.


By the end of 2023, 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 membership is broader than the church, with members from across the country who are passionate about at least one of Against the Wind’s objectives.


Currently Against the Wind has 50 members. We hope to have 300 members by the end of 2023. 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. These are, after all, complex issues. 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.

Upcoming Events 

"Peace or Poverty" forum

Our government says that it cannot raise payments to above the poverty rate for unemployed people and students. At the same time, it plans to pay over $360 billion for questionable nuclear submarines.

Many people are outraged, but what can we do?

Come to our forum “Peace or Poverty”.

Hear the facts and discuss ways we can pressure a stubborn and short-sighted government.

Speakers at our forum:

Kristin O’Connell of the Antipoverty Centre

Sue Wareham, President of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War

Len Baglow, Policy advocate and facilitator with Against the Wind

When: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm, Saturday the 7th of October. (Drinks and nibbles from 6:30 pm)

Where: Woden Valley Uniting Church Hall, 40 Gillies Street, Curtin, ACT.

Cost: Free but donations accepted.

Booking: Email 

Booking is essential as seats are limited.

Zoom: We have around 20 zoom places for people who can’t come in person. Please book on the above email.

Zoom participants will have an opportunity to join in the discussions.

You can access a poster to the event here.


Recent Activities

Peace … For Climate Sake! Forum

Our Peace … For Climate Sake Forum was a great success with over 50 engaged participants.

There were speeches by:

Thea Ormerod, President of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change;

Michelle Fahy, investigative researcher and journalist; and

Len Baglow, Facilitator with Against the Wind.

Then there were discussions and feedback 

with suggestions for future actions and solutions.


Questioning the Media Webpage

Against the Wind has created a new webpage entitled Questioning the Media.

Finding reliable information on important issues is difficult in the mainstream media. Last year Mary Kostakidis made the suggestion that activist groups could create simple web pages to help people find more reliable information. Against the Wind has taken up the challenge. We hope you find it useful.


Garden Party for Peace

 Several members recently attended the Garden Party for Peace in Reid, Canberra. The event was to raise funds for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) which does such great work in promoting peace in Australia. It was a fun afternoon and we discovered that Against the Wind members are good at winning raffles.

A great speech was given by David Perkins of IPAN and it can be accessed here. He spoke brilliantly, yet simply, on Morality and War.


Palm Sunday Rally for Refugees 2023

Against the Wind’s new banner got its first run at the Palm Sunday Rally in Canberra.

Though only a few of our members were behind the banner, other members were in the crowd supporting other groups.

And committee member Janne Graham read a poem


We also had a member at the Bendigo rally, and we suspect at other rallies throughout the country.

Screening of The Road to War

Against the Wind held a successful screening of David Bradbury’s important new film, The Road to War. The evening included space for discussion, and opportunities to meet other people concerned about peace making in Australia. Half a dozen peace groups were represented as well as many members of the wider community.

David Bradbury introducing the film


Watching the film 


Against the Wind made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Inquiry into International Armed Conflict Making. The submission can be found here.

Controversially, our submission was not accepted as a submission but relegated to the category of correspondence.

The Committee does not give reasons for such decisions, but the Parliamentary officer implied that because our submission dealt at length with the arms trade that it was not directly relevant to the terms of reference.

The main argument of our submission, clearly stated in the Conclusion and Recommendations, was that:

“ … the weapons industry is currently too influential in defence policy, and its objectives are poorly aligned with Australia’s self-interest and more closely aligned to the foreign policy of the United States. In such a situation it is unsafe to send service personnel into international armed conflict only on the decision of the executive.”

Much of our submission was devoted to giving examples to support this statement.

We have now sent our submission directly to Senator Jordon Steele-John, the member of the Committee who seems most likely to be sympathetic to our argument.


Rally For Permanent Visas

In November members of Against the Wind attended the Rally for Permanent Visas in front of Parliament House. For up to 10 years, thousands of people have been kept on insecure and temporary visas, many denied work or study rights, and all are separated from family.

Woden Valley Uniting Church also provided a welcoming environment for interstate supporters to rest and refresh.


IPAN Public Meeting, Conference, Launch of Inquiry Report and Rally.

IPAN: Independent and Peaceful Australia Network

Several Against the Wind members attended the above inspiring events between Nov 22-24.

The speakers at the public meeting and conference were terrific. Some highlights included:

Dr Emma Shortis, who had some of the most thought-provoking presentations at the public meeting and conference. Our thought needs to be deeper than just tinkering around the edges.

 Michelle Fahy

Michelle Fahy spoke on State Capture with the example of the weapons manufacturer Thales.

Dr Sue Wareham also spoke cogently on the malign influence of the weapons industry on our education system.

At the launch of the Inquiry Report, Kellie Tranter, Lawyer, researcher & human rights activist gave an historic speech which will hopefully soon be on the IPAN website.

Copies of this important report can be found here. It is an important and timely document to read.

 Kellie Tranter

Also at the launch was Peter Catt, President of A Progressive Christian Voice Australia. He was one of the panel leaders for the Social and Community section of the report.

 Peter Catt

After the launch there was a public rally in front of Parliament in the welcome sunshine.


Len Baglow has joined IPAN and he encourages other members of Against the Wind to also consider joining. It is a simple step in progressing peacemaking at a time when there are many pressures pushing us towards war. You can join through the IPAN website.

North Canberra Sustainability Festival

Against the Wind had a stall at the North Canberra Sustainability Festival in September 2022. It was an opportunity to share Against the Wind’s new brochure and its document “We Need to Talk about AUKUS”, as well as information from ICAN on The Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Our free mini-muffins for peace were also well appreciated.




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 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 .