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 individual 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 the 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

Drinks for Justice (in conversation with Tim Hollo)

At the Hachiko Japanese Restaurant 8/114 Emu Bank, Belconnen.

Date: Thursday, 27 April, starting at 6pm.

Our special guest is Tim Hollo, executive director of The Green Institute. Everyone who has met Tim is impressed by his wide knowledge, insights and passion. It will be a great evening.

The aim of Drinks for Justice is to provide a supportive space for anyone involved in the work of justice. Against the Wind provides the light snacks and drinks during the first part of the evening which are free. Drinks for Justice is quite informal. It is more of a conversation in which people interested in the work of justice can get to know each other better, than a set piece speech and response. People can also stay on for dinner if they wish, but this is at their own cost.

All are welcome.

RSVP to is helpful but not essential.


Recent Activities

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 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. 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.



UN International Day of Peace

Members of Against the Wind attended the UN International Day of Peace Rally in Canberra on the 21st of September.

There were some excellent and inspiring speeches by Isabelle Gurney of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, John Minns of RAC, Dr Sue Wareham from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War and Tim Hollo of the Green Institute, as well as a speech read on behalf of Dr Nilofar Ibrahimi, former Member of Parliament in Afghanistan.



Emails to politicians about AUKUS

Emails with copies of our document We Need to Talk About AUKUS have been sent to the following politicians: the Hon Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, Senator David Pocock, Ms Alicia Payne MP, the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP and Mr David Smith MP.


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 .