30 May, 2012

A vigil for Ranjini

Today marks two weeks since a young mother and her sons were taken from their home and placed in detention - indefinitely.

Ranjini was verified as a genuine refugee and set about starting a new life with her new husband in Melbourne. She and her husband recently discovered they're expecting their first child together. But 2 weeks ago ASIO revised her security finding and now she and her young sons join around 50 other refugees (including 6 children) held without knowing the reasons for their detention, without independent review and without an opportunity for appeal.

30,000 Australians signed the petition to our Attorney-General and Immigration Minister because we believe in principles of justice and that no one should be treated this way in our country. Next week, we'll deliver the petition to Attorney-General Nicola Roxon's office in Maribyrnong at dusk by the light of hundreds of candles - a vigil for Ranjini and her family and all others locked up indefinitely without appeal.

Will you join us?


What: Candlelight vigil for refugees with no right of appeal
When: 5.00pm, Thursday 31 May
Where: Outside Nicola Roxon's office, 337 Gordon Street Maribrynong (see map here)
RSVP: http://www.getup.org.au/vigilforjustice

If you haven't been to an event like this before, here's what it'll be like.

As the sun sets, we'll stand together holding lit candles and sharing a moment of silence for the refugees who are being held indefinitely without appeal or trial. There's something incredibly powerful about being surrounded by like-minded neighbours and familiar local faces, and knowing that for all our differences, we have this in common - the belief that indefinite detention without appeal is not justice.

Five years ago, when David Hicks was held overseas - indefinitely, without charge, trial or appeal - we came together as a community and held candelight vigils outside the offices of the Foreign Minister to stand up for justice. Now, when justice is absent here in Australia, let's do the same.

Click here to RSVP.

All are welcome - young and old, in company or alone. We'll provide the candles - all you need to bring is yourself (and perhaps a warm coat!). For every hand that can hold a candle, the message to the Attorney-General and Federal Government will be brighter, stronger and more meaningful.

Hope to see you there,
Justine, for the GetUp team.

PS - This year a Parliamentary Committee made 31 recommendations to reform immigration detention - one of them being that ASIO decisions should be subject to appeal and review. The Government has been slow to act on this but this week the Greens announced they will be introducing legislation and prominent human rights lawyer David Manne is challenging indefinite detention in the High Court. It's time for the Attorney-General and Federal Government to right the wrong. Come and show your support.

16 May, 2012

JUSTSalvos Live 11 Ep 09 - Tim Costello on Indigenous Issues

National Reconciliation Week - Let's Talk Recognition

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort
Check out Gen and Chris's interview with Tim Costello about practical reconciliation and justice for Indigenous Australians.

While you're at it, head on over to the National Reconciliation Week website and find out some more ways you can get involved in practical reconciliation in your local area.

It's time to Walk Together!

Check out the following invitation to Walk Together from our friends at 'Welcome to Australia'

It's with great pleasure that we welcome Ozi Batla, MC with great Aussie hip-hop outfits The Herd and Astronomy Class, to the team of Welcome to Australia ambassadors. He joins the growing chorus of prominent and less-prominent Australians who are calling for a change in our response to asylum seekers, refugees and other new arrivals. We believe the conversation is shifting. More than 900 people have now registered with the Community Placement Network, making their spare rooms available to asylum seekers, and while we saw a range of ugly political and personal responses to this act of generosity, it seemed that this was drowned out by those celebrating the opportunity to direct their compassion towards concrete acts of welcome.  

The momentum towards a public statement of community solidarity on the Saturday of Refugee Week is gaining momentum.Walk Together is being planned in at least 10 cities around Australia - in Brisbane on Friday June 8 in partnership with the Refugee Lantern Parade, and in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Newcastle, Perth, Hobart, Darwin, Toowoomba and Rockhampton with a few other locations in exploratory phase. We'd love you and your community group, workplace, social circle, family and friends to be there as together we demonstrate the kind of Australia that is possible. Where we see each other as equals - Aboriginal Australians, asylum seekers, refugees, migrants old and new, international students - with equal rights to freedom, hope and belonging. An Australia where the politics of fear and division is unpopular and where people are no longer pitted against each other for the sake of political gain. To truly make Australia the successful, inclusive nation that it can be, we can't walk into our future divided. It's time to see the humanity in all people, and work together to secure a better future for all. 

It's time to Walk Together.  

There's more information being added to the event page as locations and routes are locked in for each city. Please invite your friends and get the message out there! A different future is possible than the one build by xenophobia and prejudice. Let's model that together on Saturday 23 June across our nation.  

Brad Chilcott 

Living below the line - A Cadet's adventure!

Last year my house mate and two of the older youth did the Oaktree Foundation 'Live Below the Line' Challenge as  as part of their cell group. I further investigated this by checking it out online and decided to join in this year.

At the start I didn't think I would feel all that hungry during the week and I would come through fine however I don't think I have ever felt more hungry!  It would almost be safe to say that people who don't have to live on $2 a day take food for granted.  When eating normally for me, if I became hungry I would be able to access something even if just a small snack fairly quickly and I could take those hunger thoughts away.  However since living on $2 a day- hunger pains have taken on a whole new meaning... and there really isn't much you can do about it.

When doing the meal and menu planning before the big week— it was looking pretty alright until I went to purchase things and it really upset me that where I will normally buy fair trade products or more healthier options it just wasn't possible. There were things like I would have loved to get suck as brown rice and brown bread but it was cheaper to buy white rice/bread and get more for my money.  I got most of my products from one of the big chain supermarkets instead of locally produced goods because I was able to buy more for the week however I wasn't supporting the local community.

Throughout the week I have continued to eat with the college community, just with my special menu.  It defiantly does make a difference socially when you are eating different and much less. Fresh salad has never looked so attractive before! A positive to have come from this experience, is that I have realized that I used to eat unessecary food.  So I think my eating habits will have changed from here on in. You find little annoying things like you can't just pull out a piece of chewy out of your bag. It was harder to concentration in classes and when trying to study.I have found it to be a great experience, one I will do again—even though I'm hungry, because it has brought about great awareness and conversations around it, helped raised funds for projects overseas and helped me appreciate and realise how good we actually have it in Australia.

Many Blessings,
(Kimberley is a Cadet with the Salvation Army Australia - Southern Territory)

15 May, 2012

End inhumane treatment of Asylum Seekers in Australia

Bruce Duncan from Social Policy Connections extends the following invitation to anyone concerned about our government's treatment of asylum seekers, please consider signing this online petition to the Australian Parliament that detention be used only as a last resort, and that asylum seekers in detention should be moved into community detention while the determination of their refugee status is completed. 

Following is the short-cut URL to an online petition to END INHUMANE TREATMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN AUSTRALIA:


Senator Hanson Young has agreed to present this petition to the Parliament.

Please consider signing, as well as encouraging your families, friends, and networks to sign too. 

03 May, 2012

Army says ‘No’ to racially and economically determined income management (IM)

In a senate submission on 1 February 2012, The Salvation Army’s Australia Southern Territory opposed the use of mandatory income management.
The territory called for greater communication and consultation, clear evidence of income management impact and efficacy as an isolated strategy, and the pursuit of collaborative approaches to implementing social change in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory. ‘It is clear,’ the submission contended, ‘that the Government must be asked to withdraw the proposed legislation in its current form.’
Concerning the imminent roll-out of income management in 10 impoverished Australian communities (scheduled for July 2012), the Australia Southern Territory told the senate it ‘holds significant concerns about the policy directions of the Australian Government that seek to target recipients of income security payments through compulsory income management’ and ‘holds strong objections to the expansion of the initiative to designated highly disadvantaged areas’.
Click here for the Australia Southern Territory’s submission to the Australian Senate regarding income management across Australia

Click here for researcher Eva Cox’s assertion re income management in Aboriginal communities that ‘existing studies showed no reliable evidence of benefits to individuals or communities

Click here for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s social justice report on the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the 2010/2011 period. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/sj_report/sjreport11/index.html

The International Day of Families

The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly resolution in 1993 (A/RES/47/237) and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

"Far too many families endure chronic, punishing hardship. Lacking jobs and the means to make ends meet, adults are unable to provide adequate nutrition for children, leaving them with lifelong physical and cognitive scars. ...On this International Day of Families, let us resolve to support families as they nurture the young, care for the old and foster strong communities built on tolerance and dignity for all."
Unite Nations Secretary-General's Message for 2011