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.

Recent Activities

Gaza

The terrible situation in Gaza is of ongoing concern.

Members of Against the Wind have been involved in various activities to support peace in the region and to have our government act more responsibly. These actions have been taken in solidarity with other organisations such as IPAN and MAPW.

We particularly applaud the work of two midwives from Canberra who have organised a recent vigil for Gaza Health care workers near the Carillon.

Canberra vigil in support of health workers in Gaza who have been killed, injured or kidnapped while trying to do their work of healing.

Members of the Against the Wind committee participating in the walk that was part of the Canberra vigil.

Sue Baglow speaking on behalf of MAPW at one of the regular Friday rallies in Gungahlin in support of peace in Gaza.

Peace or Poverty Forum

We held another very successful forum on the 7th of October with some outstanding presentations from    

           

Kristin O’Connell    Antipoverty Centre                                                     

              

Sue Wareham          MAPW   

Len Baglow              Against the Wind

A number of participants commented on how useful it was to have activists talking and sharing from different perspectives.

 

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.

 

Submission

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.

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.

Mechanism

By the end of 2024, 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.

Membership

Currently Against the Wind has 60 members. We hope to have 300 members by the end of 2024. 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.

 

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 Threads 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 againstthewind.wvuc@gmail.com 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 againstthewind.wvuc@gmail.com .