26 March, 2009

Clover bans 'cruel' Tim Tams over child labour claims

You may or may not know our Sydney Lord Mayor has made a move in her office to have a balanced and cruelty free menu. Read below


SYDNEY Lord Mayor Clover Moore has banned Tim Tams from council events for fear they're partially produced through cruel child labour on Africa's Ivory Coast.

In a move to create "sustainable, healthy and cruelty-free catering" at City of Sydney meetings and events, staff have stopped providing chocolate biscuits along with meals containing eggs, bottled water, fat-rich cakes, dairy deserts and "bad" fish species.

One of the first attempts at the new politically correct meals policy was at the council's Investing in Sydney's Future business forum on February 25.

On the menu were vegetables (locally grown), NSW wines (organic) and "a good fish species choice" (blue-eye trevalla).

Is this a Clover-reaction?

Liberal councillor Shayne Mallard, who was at a briefing on the guidelines, said the first hint of the new policy was when Tim Tams disappeared from meetings.

"We are being dictated to by a radical green agenda telling us what fish we can eat, what water we drink and banning eggs or Tim Tams instead of focusing on issues like saving jobs," Mr Mallard said.

"Council staff told me Tim Tams were banned because 80 per cent of world cocoa production comes from the Ivory Coast, where there are allegations of child labour."

Twisties packets shrink but the price stays the same

An Arnott's spokeswoman said only a very limited supply of chocolate was from the Ivory Coast. "But this supplier is a member of the International Cocoa Initiative, which is dedicated to ensuring no child is exploited in the growing of cocoa and to ending child and forced labour," she said.

Requests for comment from Ms Moore were declined yesterday but a spokeswoman said: "No particular brand of food or drink has been identified as being off the menu."

In a memo obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the council's environmental projects manager Kirsten Woodward said the council would serve only cruelty-free and healthy options.

"Vegan, vegetarian and lactose intolerant options have also been developed for future events," Ms Woodward's memo said.

What's out
Chocolate biscuits

Meals containing eggs

Bottled water

Fat-rich cakes

Dairy deserts

"Bad" fish species

What's in

Locally grown vegetables

Organic NSW wines

Good fish species choice

21 March, 2009

16 March, 2009

Whose land is it anyway...

"For Indigenous Australians, the land is the core of all spirituality and this relationship and the spirit of 'country' is central to the issues that are important to Indigenous people today. For Aboriginal people culture, nature and land are all linked."

The sentiment of the statement above has caused much frustration and dissatisfaction for many people within Australia over the decades of land rights debate. I think its time for that feeling to stop.

In 1972, Gough Whitlam, a fierce proponent for land rights, announced that his party would, if elected, 'give Aborigines land rights - not just because their case is beyond argument, but because all of us as Australians are diminished while the Aborigines are denied their rightful place'.

Inevitably, many arguments against land rights for indigenous people evolved. These were generally solid economic positions as the ‘land’ in question was often positioned on some resource where both private and political interests laid. Others held a broader (or more shallow) position and suggested that the dispossession of land many years ago by Europeans, however unjust, can have no relevance to today's generation of Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals. Others still argued that the ‘claim’, or ‘right’ to a piece of land based on ‘culture’ was not sufficient to hold legal title.

These arguments, right or wrong have been mixed in with a load of legal, political and economic positions and have left many with a misperception as to the relationship between indigenous Australians and the land. For now, lets put aside all thoughts of legal, political or economic repercussions, and focus solely on the spiritual, cultural and emotional connection with the land. Without this foundation, I believe little reconciliation can be achieved.

I am no environmentalist, and when I used to read of the connection with the land, my understanding was generally limited to a warm fuzzy feeling associated with the familiarity of the backyard I grew up playing in. However, Indigenous connection to the land moves beyond any simple form of nostalgia. Nor does it help for us to think in terms of the childlike principle of ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’. Indigenous grieving for the land moves beyond the convenient western idea of ‘justice’.

Just recently, while doing some further thinking on the issue of connection, I was suddenly drawn to thoughts of the Israelites through the Old Testament. With a Judae-Christain heritage, most Anglo Australians would, at a bare minimum, tolerate such a comparison. The Israelites have held, since the promise to Abraham, that God blesses them through the possession of land. This possession was always more than a practical and appreciated blessing, it was the very sign of covenant fulfilment and indeed the presence of God Himself in their lives. For the Israelites, and for Jews and Muslims today, connection with the land is very much a cultural and spiritual matter, and countless people have fought and died for this issue alone. Now however 'silly' we may think that is, we would never dismiss the premise of their sacrifice. We understand, that to these religious and cultural groups, the land is inherently significant to their sense of fullness, and in fact, to their everyday life.

Extending this analogy further, we look to the inability of the Israelites to cope through periods of exile from the land. We praise characters like Daniel who were able to withstand the pressures of assimilation, and we mourn for those who lost their affinity with God through the periods of disconnect. Interesting too, when we think of the animosity that inevitably existed between those who did and did not remain faithful to their cultural practices through the times of exile, and to those who were unable to cope at all and fell into a life far removed from God's plan.
The point? Two hundred years is not a long time to recover from the horrific separation and destruction of ones land, especially when that land in inherently linked to ones spirituality. Our nation has yet to realise the impact colonisation has had on the indigenous community, and until we start to accept the depth of hurt, confusion and loss felt by the indigenous community today, we will not see significant reconciliation, or in my opinion, make significant inroads in closing the gap in social outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The government will continue the process of assimilation, no matter how discreet, and will introduce rules that ban indigenous languages being used at school during teaching times, and will introduce fines on parents who don’t get their children to school, and will commence a whole host of other initiatives that intend to increase the participation rate and inclusion of indigenous people. And while the motive is usually solid, the effectiveness of continuing to force a square peg in a round hole will inevitably prove negligible. Reconciliation must come first, and this cannot truly until we begin the process of repentance and restoration.

Just something to think about in your travels.

Thanks, and sorry for the delay! Feel free to let me know what you would like to hear more about for future blogs!

Genevieve

gen.peterson@aus.salvationarmy.org

10 March, 2009

Post-Christian America?

Recently, survey results were published in the US making the claim that America is becoming less Christian. According to the survey, 3 out of every 4 Americans consider themselves to be Christian, while 20 years ago that number was 9 out of every 10. The survey points out that people aren't turning away from Christianity to other religions, they're simply giving up on faith altogether. At the same time, the number of professing Muslims has doubled - from 0.3% to a whopping 0.6%!

Should this be cause for alarm? I suppose it depends on how you look at it. If you consider America to be a bastion for all things Christian, then storm the forts! We're under attack! However, if you believe America to be a melting pot of all things religious, then this is to be expected. I don't believe that America was founded on true Biblical Christianity, as many others do. Sure, the founding fathers claimed knowledge of the Scriptures and implemented certain principles and morals from it's pages, but it wasn't to set up a "Christian" nation per se. I believe that America's founding fathers wanted to get as far away from State Religion as they could, hence the trek across the pond.

This survey highlights the fact that even in America we've embarked upon days that are to be described as post-Christian. No longer is it to be expected that our children will know the story of Adam and Eve or even Peter, James and John in the sailboat. This is all the more reason to redouble our efforts to proclaim the message of peace that is separate from nationality or allegiance to a flag.

~ Rob

Contacting Cadbury's

Just a quick update on the Cadbury's fight:
go ahead and copy the text in the blog below and then go to: http://www.cadbury.com.au/Feedback.aspx to ask them when they plan to follow the UK's lead on ethical and fairly traded chocolate!!
Grace to you.
Danielle

09 March, 2009

I'll Fight

I’ll Fight is an initiative of The Greater West Division Australia Eastern Territory that has been running for the past 2 years. We want to raise awareness and motivate people, both professionals and non professionals about social justice issues that affect us directly in Australia, as well as worldwide.

In 2009 I’ll Fight will be hosted over 4 Divisions of The Salvation Army’s Australian Eastern Territory (NSW/QLD/ACT). These include ACT/South NSW (2nd May 2009), Central North QLD (18-19th July), North NSW (3-5th April) and The Greater West Division (3-4th April – Parramatta, 17th October – Orange). Click on this link

We believe that Social Justice is something that should be on everyone’s agenda. So this year the message is going further than before, addressing more injustices than before and standing up ready to take action.

I’ll fight offers a response to injustices, by offering teaching, skill development, practical resources and a ‘Heart to God, Hand to Man’ approach. We don’t want to be reactive but rather proactive in our response to social justice. ‘I’ll Fight’ is part of the process of bringing about justice. It brings peoples attention to some of the injustices that are currently surrounding and weaving throughout society. It challenges us to do something about it, whether it is in our own neighbourhood or on a larger scale.

Working towards justice requires everyone to play their part, whatever that might be, but most of all it requires an open heart to those who are effected by injustice. Sometimes we get a glimpse of these injust situations and how can we turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in Christ? We need to be part of the change, the voice and the challenge to these injustices.

Cadbury's Australia - Please Go Fairtrade

Cadbury's Australia are not as yet going to commit to making Fairtrade Chocolate. But we want to encourage them to make the change. Click on the link and have your say to Cadbury Australia.

Below is a template you can use.

Lets be the change we want to see,

Robyn

Dear Cadburys

Cadbury UK have announced that Cadbury Dairy Milk, their best known product, is to receive Fairtrade certification by late summer 2009.

STOP THE TRAFFIK congratulate Cadbury UK on this ground breaking decision which comes two years into the STOP THE TRAFFIK Chocolate Campaign.

It has long been known that thousands of children are being trafficked onto cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast and across West Africa to harvest the cocoa that makes the chocolate that the world consumes. Despite the fact that industry committed in 2001 to remove all forms of exploitative child labour from the chocolate supply chain little progress has been made until now.

STOP THE TRAFFIK, a global movement against people trafficking founded in 2006, has been calling for individual companies to take responsibility for the chocolate they sell and asking for it to be traffik free.

Today STOP THE TRAFFIK campaigners around the world celebrate that in the summer 2009 there will be another traffik free chocolate bar.

However, it is only Cadbury's in the UK who are making their Dairy Milk Chocolate bar Fair Trade.

I am wondering if you can advise when Cadbury's AUSTRALIA will follow the UK's lead, and in fact, go a step further and make ALL of your chocolate products Fair Trade?

I look forward to seeing a guarantee that there is no slavery used in the harvesting of Cocoa and I also look forward to purchasing Cadbury's Chocolate once again when it carries this guarantee.

Kind Regards

06 March, 2009

wanted

Great NEWS...


04 March 2009
Press Release
For Immediate Release
Cadbury goes Traffik Free

STOP THE TRAFFIK campaigners around the world are waking up to the news that in summer 2009 Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bars can be part of their diet.

Cadbury have announced today that Cadbury Dairy Milk, their best known product, is to receive Fairtrade certification by late summer 2009.

STOP THE TRAFFIK congratulates Cadbury on this ground breaking decision, which comes two years into the STOP THE TRAFFIK Chocolate Campaign.

Steve Chalke, STOP THE TRAFFIK founder, said, ‘This is a very significant step in our campaign. We congratulate Cadburys on their commitment to justice and now look to their policy being adopted across their entire product range as well as to their lead being followed by other manufacturers. But the STOP THE TRAFFIK Chocolate Campaign marches on. We now call on Mars and other manufacturers to follow Cadbury’s lead and abandon their reliance on the use of cocoa produced through trafficked and exploitative forms of child labour.’

STOP THE TRAFFIK CEO, Ruth Dearnley added, ’Cadbury’s decision demonstrates the power of ordinary consumers to bring about change and freedom. Two years ago, when STOP THE TRAFFIK met with Cadbury we were told that the decision we have witnessed today was impossible and impracticable. This is a victory for every person who has complained, campaigned and spread the message. But most of all it is a victory for every child held in exploitative labour on the cocoa farms of West Africa. However, let us not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory - they will not be set free until Mars and Nestle and Lindt and Hershey and all the others have the integrity to put human rights before profit and make similar announcements.’

It has long been known that thousands of children are being trafficked onto cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast and across West Africa to harvest the cocoa that makes the chocolate that the world consumes. Despite the fact that industry committed in 2001 to remove all forms of exploitative child labour from the chocolate supply chain, little progress has been made.

STOP THE TRAFFIK, a global movement against people trafficking founded in 2006, has been calling for individual companies to take responsibility for the chocolate they sell and asking for it to be traffik free.

Today STOP THE TRAFFIK campaigners around the world celebrate that in summer 2009 there will be another traffik free chocolate bar.