15 Henley Rd
(PO Box 2219)
Ph: (02) 8762 4200
Fx: (02) 8762 4220
Int'l Ph: +61 2 8762 4200
Int'l Fx: +61 2 8762 4220
Located just 100 metres to the south of Flemington Railway Station. Link to new location on Google Maps
5 Abingdon St
(Postal: 84 Park Rd)
Ph 1: (07) 3103 7376
Ph 2: (02) 8090 1976
Fax: (02) 8762 4220
- please call for appt
Current Documents 251 - 300 of 335
ERC Media: New asylum policy ensures election race for the bottom
“The sad reality is that the impact of Ms Gillard’s speech will be to drive the Coalition's response even further to the right. This is not the leadership the country needs. In ethical terms, Ms. Gillard has ensured this debate becomes a race to the bottom.”
ERC Director, Phil Glendenning
Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning, expressed serious concerns today at both the content and language used by Prime-Minister Julia Gillard in her address this morning on the Government's policy response to asylum-seekers.
Just Comment Vol 13 No 4 -- Reconcilaition in 2010: what priority?
The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2010 was Reconciliation: Let’s See It Through!
This theme reminds us that, ten years after the historic Reconciliation bridge walks, we have a journey to complete. If we are to “see it through”, Reconciliation must be a part of our lives every day, not simply during one week of the year.
This edition of Just Comment First peoples, first priority: what priority? reproduces an interview given by ERC's Indigenous Education Officer, Cassandra Gibbs, for the May 2010 issue of Just in Time the bulletin of the Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes - NSW. Cassandra asks, as a society, what priority are we placing on indigenous equity and assures us that our small daily actions are just as important as “big picture” ideas.
Just Comment Vol 13 No 5 -- Climate change - still a great moral challenge
Climate change is happening, is primarily caused by human activity and is complex.
Studies of various scenarios of temperature rise predict that Australia will experience increasing difficulties with its river systems, with water availability for agriculture, industry, residential purposes and broader environmental needs.
There will be coastal flooding due to sea level rise, increasing extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, heat waves, and extreme precipitation. Infrastructure and public health will suffer. For example:
Although Australia has a particularly vulnerable eco-system, it can draw on significant resources to adapt to the changes; resources that it has accrued through GHG pollution.
Edmund Rice Asylum Seeker Support Service
Would you like to support asylum seekers in Sydney through the challenges of the visa application and settlement process? The Edmund Rice Network will soon be launching the Edmund Rice Asylum Seeker Support Service.
The service aims to accompany and assist asylum seekers in the transition and settlement process and through relationships and practical support. The service might include visiting families, delivering furniture, English conversation, organising recreation and picnics, help with resumes and job-seeking etc. Venues and hours will vary and be flexible.
Information sessions will be held in September to outline further details and provide training and preparation for volunteers. If you would like to attend a session, please notify Donna Mulhearn at dmulhearn [at] edmundrice.org .
See promotional flyer below.
ERC International Immersion - Jan 2011
Living the option for the poor: the Church in the struggle for human rights
El Salvador & Guatemala: 1st to 20th January 2011
The Edmund Rice Centre is conducting an international human rights immersion program in January 2011 partnership with the Catholic Education Office of the Archdiocese of Sydney. This formation program for is being offered for those who seeking to explore further a faith-inspired commitment to social justice.
The immersion facilitates for participants an experience-based transformational education for justice through the engagement with the ERC's international partner organisations visited. International immersion experiences develop a new and internalised sense of our world, and of structures of inequity within it, from the perspectives of the economically excluded.
Download brochure below
MEDIA RELEASE Sydney, Friday, 27th Aug 2010
Cutting Edge of Climate Change - Still The Moral Challenge
Patrick Dodson to lead important delegation to Kiribati
The Edmund Rice Centre in conjunction with the Pacific Calling Partnership next week will be taking a delegation of Australian community leaders to Kiribati. The delegation will be led by one of the most senior Indigenous leaders in Australia Patrick Dodson and ERC director Phil Glendenning, and will include representatives from Indigenous communities, the arts, media and education.
Whilst welcoming Immigration Minister Chris Bowen's lifting of the freeze on processing of Afghan asylum claims, the Edmund Rice Centre today expressed serious concerns about the Minister's statement that he now expects lower numbers of successful claims.
“The Minister has stated that ‘more up-to-date country information’ has led to a decrease in the number of primary acceptances of claims from Afghans who were not subject to the processing suspension,” said ERC Director Phil Glendenning.
“However our concern is that 2010 has been the most violent year in Afghanistan since 2001,” Mr Glendenning continued, “and most victims of the increased violence have been civilians, especially women and children.”
Kiribati Delegation Reflective Evening
You are warmly invited to share a meal and take part in an evening of reflections on the experiences, learnings and outcomes of the delegation Patrick Dodson recently led to Kiribati.
Monday 11th October 2010 -- 5.30pm for 6.00pm
at The Edmund Rice Centre, 15 Henley Rd, Homebush West.
Overview of Pacific Calling Partnership Achievements 2009
2009 saw the Pacific Calling Partnership continue to be strongly committed to helping and inspiring the Australian community and its leaders to listen to the calls from our low-lying island neighbours about the serious threat posed to them by climate change. The profile of the PCP continues to grow and it is in regular demand to collaborate with large and small NGOS, including international ones for their DVD making, to speak at events, run workshops and give advice. The Kiribati Skills Exchange trip in October proved to be highly successful with all of the fifteen participants taking up initiatives to support the work of the PCP in different ways.
A delegation of eight attended the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Summit – COP15 organising two successful official side events and supporting the preparation of the Kiribati Government side event. Read more:
Just Comment Vol 13 No 6 -- West Papua: Colonisation is alive and well
"The Freeport mine is an open wound on the body of my people." Benny Wemba
Papua’s abundant natural resources have made it another focus of the ‘resource curse’ – the curse of being resource rich. Significant natural resources often give rise to power struggles to control them and Papua is no exception. The Grasberg mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan and the Indonesian Government is the largest above ground copper mine in the world, but there is a protracted conflict in the area bounded by the mine.
Imparsial, the Indonesian human rights monitor maintains that violence in Papua often targets human rights activists, whom the Indonesian military presume to be members of separatist groups. Although torture of radical students and separatist sympathisers by security forces was no longer in practice, there were ‘still rights violations, arbitrary arrests and detention of Papuans voicing their opinions, especially the young.’
Countries such as Australia and New Zealand use the approach of ‘quiet diplomacy’ which amounts ‘to polite and ineffective representations on human rights’. Australia and New Zealand are also complicit in providing military training to many of the officers who have breached human rights in Papua. They continue to be complicit in resource exploitation.
See link below to download this two page fact sheet in ERC's Just Comment series
Referenced version: NB IN THIS EDITION OF JUST COMMENT, THE ORIGINAL BELOW INCLUDES THE REFERENCES
Edmund Rice Centre calls for bipartisan support for detention changes
MEDIA RELEASE Sydney, Monday, 18 Oct 2010
"The detention of asylum seeker children and their families was a stain on the nation. It was a wrong that needed to be put right. Today we have taken that first step back onto the right track”
ERC Director, Phil GlendenningThe Edmund Rice Centre today welcomed the announcement that children and their families would soon be released from immigration detention facilities.
“In making this move the Government is showing that there are a range of options for asylum seeker children and their families besides mandatory detention,” Mr Glendenning said. “Other western countries have demonstrated that such alternatives can be compassionate whilst still being no less effective.”
See full text below or download pdf of release at bottom.
ERC Media: 'Ambo Declaration' a call to action on climate change
ERC back in Kiribati to prepare for the Cancun COP16 Summit in Mexico
Sydney, Thursday, 18th November 2010The Edmund Rice Centre today called for this month's UN Climate Change Summit in Cancun, Mexico to take seriously the concerns of the vulnerable nations as expressed in the recently accorded 'Ambo Declaration'.
Speaking in Sydney upon his return from the Pacific nation of Kiribati where he attended the Tarawa Climate Change Conference, Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning said, "The Ambo Declaration is a call for the world to take climate change seriously given the loss and damage that people in nations like Kiribati are already experiencing".
Australia signs the Ambo Declaration 11 November 2010
The Tarawa Climate Change Conference
Ambo is a small village on the island of Tarawa where the Kiribati Government has its Parliament House. Last week Ambo hosted the Tarawa Conference, a conference that may prove to be important turning point in the history of climate change negotiations, not just because it produced the Ambo Declaration but also because of the respectful and cooperative atmosphere in which those negotiations were conducted.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOUR HOMELAND?
ERC Media: UN Climate Summit: Urgent action needed for 'climate vulnerable'
MEDIA RELEASE: Sydney, Friday, 26th November 2010
Delegation departs Sydney for COP16 UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico.
Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning today called for the international community to take urgent action to support those nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Speaking on his departure from Sydney to attend this month's UN climate change summit in Cancun, Mexico, Mr Glendenning gave voice to the needs of low-lying communities who are already dealing with the impacts of climate change.
“People living in these communities are on the front-line. They are already living with the day-to-day consequences of human-induced climate change, including extreme weather events and sea-level rises,” he said
“What these people need now out of the COP16 climate summit in Cancun is an urgent package of assistance which gives them help on the ground in a practical way.” he said.
Just Comment Vol 13 No 7 -- Consensual democracy vs conflictive democracy
The role of leadership is to envision and enlighten, to put the national interest before personal gain, to think about the next generation rather than merely the next election, to look for what is right and good and fair so that most can agree to it rather than seek only to humiliate and embarrass political enemies. An over-emphasis on adversarial or combative politics can lead to parliamentary ineffectiveness and a deprivation of the wisdom and contribution of half its members.
An adversarial approach means conflict where beating the enemy at all costs means that truth and wisdom are early victims and whilst bickering occurs real problems are ignored and meaningful action is impossible. Social reform has come under the control of cynical calculators who measure success by winning elections, patronage and status on the political ladder . Political parties seek power, not change. Causes have given way to careers.
Though there are politicians who would like to adopt a more meaningful, inclusive and less aggressive approach to politics, civil and reasonable dialogue on major issues seems the exception rather than the norm, and the volume and shrillness of debate contributes to policy gridlock, civic disengagement, declining standards of behaviour , and lack of accountability.
We need go beyond the view that the status quo is the best one can hope for.
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS WAS HAPPENING TO YOUR HOMELAND?
Carrying the message of low lying islands to COP16
The most public way the Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP) has been involved at the UN Climate Summit COP16 has been through presenting events.
ERC Media: Deportation agreement with Afghanistan cause for grave concern
Sydney, Wednesday, 19 Jan 2011
Australia's deportation agreement with Afghanistan: “History demonstrates cause for grave concern”
Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning, has expressed grave concern at Australia's signing of an agreement that will allow for the deportation from Australia of Afghan asylum-seekers back into situations of danger.
Announced on Monday by Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was signed with the Afghanistan government and representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.(UNHCR), permits the involuntary repatriation to Afghanistan of failed asylum-seekers.
Many Afghan asylum-seekers have now been made vulnerable by this memorandum of understanding, including members of the persecuted Hazara ethnic minority and women who will be perceived as having departed from acceptable cultural norms,” Mr Glendenning has stated in an opinion editorial written for The Age newspaper.
The memorandum even explicitly lays out the groundwork for the deportation of separated and unaccompanied children back to the war zone that is Afghanistan,” he stated.
Download media release below.
ERC Media: OpEd
Back to the danger zone
ERC Opinion Editorial published in The Age newspaper, Melbourne on Wednesday 19th January 2011.
This opinion piece prepared by ERC expresses grave concern at Australia's signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Afghanistan, and highlights up to date evidence that demonstrates that the security situation for civilians is deteriorating rather than improving. The time has not yet come for Australia to be signing an MoU with Afghanistan to permit the involuntary repatriation of unsuccessful asylum-seekers including children.
Public statement: Grave concern over Australia's MOU with Afghanistan
See the complete text with annotated references in the pdf file below. The text with complete list of signatories may be seen at http://www.erc.org.au/mou
= = = = = = = =
We, Australian organisations and individuals unite to offer this statement to our nation.
We reject this MoU at this present time and request that the Australian Government address its humanitarian obligations and provide leadership and asylum for those who are fleeing from a country riddled with conflict, persecution and ongoing violence. We must never send people back to danger.
November 2010 Appeal Letter
THE TIME TO ACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOW, NOT AFTER WE HAVE LOST WHAT WE CANNOT REPLACE — the call from KIRIBATI
Covering one seventh of Australia, the Murray Darling Basin is one of the largest river basins in the world and contains 440 000km of rivers, 30 000 wetlands and one world heritage site.
The variety of ecosystems within the basin is as diverse as the size of the basin and provides a variety of habitats for flora and fauna including more than 60 fish species and around 98 species of waterbirds. Covering four states and the ACT and with 3.4 million people relying on water from the Basin, the management of the Basin is a political tightrope.
Nevertheless, unless serious action is taken sooner rather than later the beauty, diversity and ecological significance of the Basin could be permanently lost.
ERC Media: Carbon tax announcement praised 28Feb2011
MEDIA RELEASE -- Sydney, Sunday, 28th February 2011
The Edmund Rice Centre today congratulated the Federal Government on the decision to introduce a carbon price from July next year, with Green and Independent support.
The decision proposes an initial carbon tax rising at an agreed annual rate before moving to an emissions trading scheme with a market-determined price sometime between 2015 and 2017.
ERC Director Phil Glendenning said: “The Government’s decision is a step in the right direction to stimulate sufficient investment to help Australia achieve 30 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.”
For the past five years the Edmund Rice Centre has been deeply engaged in the campaign to give voice to the people of those Pacific Island communities which are most affected by climate change. These include Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Palau. A number of Torres Strait Islander communities at the northern tip of Queensland are also threatened.
“It is important that Australia provides a leadership role on climate change within our region,” Mr Glendenning said.
“We have seen the human face of disasters in the Queensland and Victorian floods. Australia and our neighbours in Pacific Island communities face ever larger king tides, bigger storm surges and longer droughts,” he said.
“But the Pacific islands have fewer material resources to handle the challenge of climate change. We need to see the human face of a slowly evolving disaster that threatens our Pacific Island neighbours”
A United Nations climate change panel predicts that sea level rises caused by climate change will make many islands of Kiribati uninhabitable because of salination by 2100.
“Pacific Island countries, which themselves have contributed next to nothing to the human causes of climate change, have most to gain from the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that will result from measures such as Australia’s carbon tax,” Mr Glendenning affirmed.
“The tax will help investors to realise that coal is yesterday’s fuel,” he concluded.
PCP Discussion Paper: Imagine Climate Change
ERC's Eco-Justice initiative Pacific Calling Partnership has published a new discussion paper: Imagine Climate Change .
The paper, aimed at broad audiences, appeals to the reader's empathy encouraging us to view climate change from the perspective of those who, although they have done least to cause climate change, are most affected by the impact of sea-encroachments in low-lying Pacific Island communities.
The paper asks us to imagine how we would feel if these sea-encroachments were happening in our homes, even if we had not contributed to cause the carbon.
While Small Island Developing States (SIDS) emit less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions (Pacific Islands produce less than a tenth of 1% of global emissions) their characteristics put them at risk to experience the effects of climate change with more immediacy and severity than anywhere else in the world.
Faced with the prospect of losing their land some Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have started taking action in preparation for a worst case scenario. These range from small scale local actions such as constructing makeshift sea-walls, to national government initiatives such as putting aside money to acquire land - either by spending money in reclaiming islands, by artificially raising them above threshold levels, or by buying land elsewhere.
Download pdf copy of this 8 page booklet below -- 900KB
The Better Way policy document was prepared by the JAS alliance (Justice for Asylum Seekers) a Melbourne-based national alliance of church, welfare and community sector organisations concerned for asylum policy.
The Better Way booklet is based on the JAS proposed alternative approaches to asylum seekers: Reception and Transitional Processing System (JAS, June 2002).
ERC makes this document available here as the previous JAS website www.thebetterway.info is no longer functional.
ERC Media: Australia at an asylum policy crossroads
Proposal for 'better way' to replace mandatory detention regime
Sydney Wednesday 23rd March 2011
In the wake of a week that saw Australian Federal Police using tear gas and 'bean-bag bullets' to end asylum seeker protests on Christmas Island, Edmund Rice Centre Director, Phil Glendenning, today called for a major policy overhaul of Australia's management of asylum-seekers.
Writing in Australian Policy Online, Mr Glendenning called on the Federal Government to give serious consideration to 'the better way' long-proposed by the many in the immigration and asylum sectors.
“At some point we have finally got to discover the decency to accept that this way of detaining and punishing people has got to stop,” he writes. “We need to join with those western nations that provide community supervision of asylum seekers. It’s time for a system overhaul to bring us into line with these standards.“
Tuvalu, Climate Change and Culture
A discussion paper on the care that is needed to be fully respectful of unique cultures when considering low-lying island nations within global climate change discussions.
Focus on Tuvalu as a global litmus test can function to subsume important issues of protecting cultural diversity. In any ethically and culturally informed debate, neither the Tuvalu islands nor Tuvaluan culture should be considered expendable to sea level rise as a signifier to the rest of the world that climate change is real and serious. Climate change should be considered a threat to unique island cultures that are significant to global cultural diversity in their own right.
PCP Annual Report 2010
The Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP) strives to listen to and be accountable to voices from the Pacific and Torres Strait islands in their quest to raise awareness about the impacts on them, due to high greenhouse gas emissions from industrialised countries.
The PCP aims to build a consensus that drives support for Australia, in partnership with our neighbours, to recognise and build on the civil, cultural, economic and environmental resilience of all countries within the Pacific region. In this way we can work towards building a positive, communitarian and sustainable response based on Human Rights to the increased water, food, fuel and land stresses that are predicted under present circumstances and future climate change scenarios.
In February 2010 the Strategic Planning Committee of PCP met over two days to plan future focuses and strategic directions for the next 3-5years. The Annual Report 2010 follows up on these projections and reflects the directions the PCP has taken and outcomes achieved throughout the year.
Climate chaos in Kiribati
Claire Anterea, a most valued Kiribati member of the Pacific Calling Partnership (PCP), was one of the representatives in the PCP delegation to the UN Climate Conference in Cancun last year. She and other youth have recently been running workshops on outer islands helped by some funding from Caritas. Vandana Shiva suggests that we should be talking about “climate chaos” not climate change as many of the changes are unexpected and unpredictable.
Please read what Claire has written and then contact the media, your local member of Parliament, you family, your friends… and tell them all the story and then challenge them to look at the carbon tax in the context of what the people on the island of Makin are suffering as a result of climate chaos.
ERC Media: Deep fears held for Malaysia deportations deal
ERC Media Release
Sydney, Mon 9th May 2011
According to the Edmund Rice Centre, Malaysia's poor human rights record and refusal to sign the Refugee Convention, raise deep fears for the asylum-seeker deportation deal announced by the Australian Government at the weekend.
“There is a need for an effective regional framework to better protect refugees. However, this deportation deal is mostly about domestic politics and links Australia to policies which are inconsistent with both the Refugee Convention and the values the Australian people would expect their Government to uphold,” ERC Director, Phil Glendenning, said.
“Whilst we welcome the announcement that Australia will take more refugees, this idea of trading one group of vulnerable human beings for another group is not the way to do it.” he continued.
“The Edmund Rice Centre renews our call for disciplined bipartisanship on this issue. The human lives at risk are too important for poll-driven endless partisan point-scoring. In international terms the numbers coming to Australia are tiny. The vast majority of asylum-seekers coming to this country, arrive by plane - not by boat,” he said.
Read more below
Just Comment Vol 14 No 1 - Disaster Capitalism
The concept of ‘disaster capitalism’ was conceived by extreme neoliberals at the University of Chicago dedicated to eliminating the public sphere so that business would be free and unfettered; and almost all social spending cease.
It feeds on the misery suffered by people whether in war, terrorism, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions and market crashes. Disasters are opportunities to generate huge profits and earnings.
The concept also applies in countries such as Australia where people who are asylum seekers are detained in centres, and prisoners held in prisons, run by ‘for-profit’ corporations. This new economy is outlined in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The scheme always exploits people for profits.
Read more - download document below
“Climate change is essentially a story about human rights, justice and equality. While it will impact every species on earth, it is the human face of this suffering that speaks most powerfully to all of us”
- Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Sydney
Australians know the parched misery of a drought and now we also know what a storm surge can do. We have seen the devastation that these events can cause and we’ve experienced the enormous outpouring of support and compassion across the country in times of crisis. But what is hard for us to imagine is being in that situation with little to fall back on. As the seas and droughts encroach on Kiribati and Tuvalu, these countries have sounded a beacon for us to recognise our shared humanity on a volatile planet.
ERC Fact-sheet: 10 Essential Facts About Asylum Seekers
Over the past 10 years, advances have only been made in improving Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, once a critical mass is achieved of people with adequate command of the facts.
To this end the Edmund Rice Centre has a strong history of investing in the process of community education on many levels. An important part of this has been the publication of factsheets such as the widely distributed series Debunking the Myths on Asylum Seekers .
In the current stage of the ongoing national debate on asylum policy ERC has produced another important factsheet: 10 Essential Facts About Asylum Seekers .
You can assist our efforts to achieve this much needed critical mass by downloading a copy of this fact-sheet and emailing it on to family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Already we have heard from some people who have made photocopies to distribute through local churches, schools, universities and community groups.
ERC Media: Gillard carbon plan offers vital hope to Pacific -- 11th July 2011
The Edmund Rice Centre has today called on political leaders of all persuasions to support the Gillard carbon plan. "The Gillard carbon plan is an important and significant first step that all Australians should get behind," said Jill Finnane, coordinator of Eco-Justice programs at the Edmund Rice Centre.
"Putting a price on the green-house gas emissions that each one of us is responsible for is an effective means to move towards overall improvements for the planet," she said.
"As a nation we need to look beyond our own short-term interests and consider, not only the legacy we are leaving for our grandchildren, but also the effect that our emissions are having on our neighbours in low-lying Pacific Island nations."
Just Comment Vol 14 No 2 - Insidious Violence - Depleted Uranium Weapons
The 2004 US assault on the small Iraqi town of Fallujah was one of the most horrific war crimes of our time. And yet today, another war continues daily in Fallujah. The populace is gripped by a stealthy killer - a slow and silent violence where the best medical advice given to young women is: ‘Do not have babies!’.
An average of three babies are born daily with severe deformities. Many are stillborn, others live a few hours, and most who survive live for only a few months because of their severe abnormalities. A new study, ‘Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,’ showed higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than recorded among atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah at levels many times higher than in nearby nations proves that a high proportion of the weaponry used in the US assault on Fallujah contained depleted uranium, a radioactive substance used in shells to increase their effectiveness. Fallujah provides us with stark evidence as to the urgent need for a treaty to ban depleted uranium weapons.
PCP Working Paper: Imagining Disappearing Islands
Tuvalu, a nation composed entirely of low-lying islands in the Pacific, has become widely known because of its vulnerability to sea level rise. Since the late 1980s, Tuvalu has appeared in many news reports and documentaries as signifiers of the scale and urgency of climate change.
Dramatic representations of rising sea levels in Tuvalu circulate: many foreign journalists, researchers, environmentalists and documentary-makers arrive during king tides to capture footage of flooding on the islands. Dispatches of disappearing islands, often apparently on the verge of evacuation, are sent to all corners of the world, with the inhabitants of the islands often referred to as ‘climate refugees’.
The label ‘climate refugee’ didn’t exist before climate change was discovered. Why do journalists use it? How do the people so named feel about being called ‘climate refugees’ or ‘environmental refugees’?
Resistance to the climate refugee label among Tuvaluans prompts a search for alternative vocabularies through which the challenges of sea level might be more equitably spoken. PCP researcher Carol Farbotko explores these discourses...
Unpacking the 'Fast Start Finance' Initiative: A Review
As climate change continues unchecked, small island states in the Pacific have increasingly called for “new and additional” funding to help them cope with the consequences of global warming. Over the past years, various international negotiations have affirmed and agreed with this. So why has it been so hard for developing countries in the Pacific to gain access to adequate funding as they were promised?
In an insightful article “Improving access to climate financing for the Pacific Islands”, author Nic Maclellan from the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC) unpacks some of the tensions generated by climate financing and comments on the difficulties of channeling funding to where it is needed. This review is a concise analysis of the argument, and what remains to be done. PCP's Katerina Lebedev reports.
“The High Court ruling on deportations to Malaysia, should serve as call to reflection by the major parties to forge a new policy framework – focussed on compassion, empathy and respect for the human dignity of the vulnerable,” said Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning.
“The Edmund Rice Centre calls on the major political parties to respect the full significance of the Court's ruling by moving away from the bipartisan commitment to 'deterrence', in favour of a new paradigm through which Australia can recognise the vulnerability of arriving asylum-seekers and offer them a humanitarian and just response,” he said.
(One page PDF version accessible at bottom )
The Pacific Calling Partnership invites you to join us at our next Youth Forum on the 6th September 2011 "Fighting for Climate Justice in the Pacific". Hear some new stories from the Pacific and be part of a different kind of conversation, in which climate change is not a weak political catch-phrase or economic threat, but a matter of survival.
Key speakers will include leaders from Kiribati and Fiji on the impact and actions of their communities, as well as an Oxfam climate campaigner discussing global climate finance initiatives, and researcher discussing the international fishing industry in the Pacific context. Bring along your friends to be part of this fun and informative evening!
WHEN: Tuesday 6th September, 2011, 6.30pm - 9pm
WHERE: Zanzibar, 323 King St Newtown, NSW
COST: Entry by donation (min. gold coin please!), with finger food provided.
MORE: Visit the Facebook page for details or to post a comment!
RSVP: Please contact Katerina on firstname.lastname@example.org (prefered) or phone 0401 006 849.
Download event flyer below.
Just Comment Vol 14 No 3: Riots - the Language of the Unheard
In the scramble to comprehend London’s August riots, almost every commentator opened with a ritual condemnation of the violence.
There was no doubt that arson, muggings and lootings are ugly occurrences. But it just seemed too easy to dismiss it all as mindless and needless, opportunistic theft and violence, ‘pure criminality’, or the work of a ‘violent minority’.
A reasonably objective view of Britain’s political landscape and the civil unrest witnessed in Britain would suggest that the responsibility lay exactly where it always has since the beginning of ‘civilisation’: the leaders responsible for the society they have helped to create.
It is no coincidence that this violence in London takes place against the backdrop of a global economy poised for free fall. John Kenneth Galbraith has set out the causes of recession: bad income distribution, a business sector engaged in ‘corporate larceny’, a weak banking structure and an import/export imbalance. With no jobs and no sense of a future – a human catastrophe was waiting to happen!
Download 2 page pdf document below
ERC Media: “Nauru & PNG invalid”: legal opinion to ERC -- 5th Sept 2011
In response to last week's decision from the High Court, to disallow the deportation of asylum seekers to Malaysia, the Edmund Rice Centre sought expert legal opinion as to the effect of the ruling on possible deportations under Section 198A of the Migration Act to Nauru or to Papua New Guinea.
The opinion on the matter* confirms that last week's High Court ruling is likely to render nvalid, the option for the Government to remove asylum seekers from Australia to Nauru or Papua New Guinea under section 198A of the Migration Act.
The advice was provided by Stephen Estcourt QC, a senior barrister with extensive experience in migration law.
Downlaod this release and the legal opinion below.
A group of prominent Australian individuals and institutions, reflecting a broad-ranging centre-ist perspective in the political spectrum, has signed an Open Statement on Asylum Seekers .
The Open Statement emphasises the need for an alternative policy direction in Australia's treatment of asylum seekers and outlines key elements of that new direction.
The Statement grew over the past month out of concern for the need within the national debate on asylum seeker policy, for alternatives to the off-shore processing positions of both major parties.
The Statement calls on the Prime-Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to abandon their separate plans for off-shore processing of asylum claims in favour of humanitarian policies similar to those enacted with bi-partisan support in the aftermath of the Vietnam War during the 1970's.
Signatories include former Prime-Minister Malcolm Fraser; eminent jurist Elizabeth Evatt; former Minister of Immigration in the Fraser Government, Ian Macphee; 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry; 2011 Senior Australian of the Year Professor Ron McCallum; child psychiatry expert Professor Louise Newman; together with other leading academics, and human rights and legal experts.
Saving Pacific Island Fisheries
“The Pacific is the largest fisheries resource on the planet that has not already been exploited beyond the limits of sustainability” – Murray McCully, NZ Foreign Minister
For Pacific Island countries such as Kiribati, fishery resources and their large exclusive economic zones constitute one of their most important economic assets. Kiribati has one of the largest economic exclusion zones an estimated 3.5 million square kilometers and home to healthy populations of skipjack, albacore tuna and the more elusive big eye tuna which is in decline globally. Fish stocks, represent a huge renewable resource and, if managed effectively offers a potential path towards development aspirations for the people of Kiribati. But without fair terms of trade and a greater return from its fishery resources Kiribati is unable to fund important development projects, such as the building of sea walls, and other adaptation measures. PCP researcher Vanessa Powell has more...
Responses to Climate Change in the Pacific
Annika Dean's thesis develops understandings of responses to, and perceptions of, the impacts and threats of climate change in the Torres Strait. It does this using a post-colonial theoretical framework to analyse how ongoing legacies of colonialism influence the way that climate change is approached. It argues that the material and discursive legacies of colonialism in the Torres Strait pose barriers to the implementation of effective and culturally appropriate adaptation strategies for mitigating the impacts of climate change in the region. Furthermore it is argued that the 'frontier relations', which have shaped interactions between Indigenous Australians and the State since colonisation, are influencing the new and emerging field of climate change adaptation.
By conducting interviews with Torres Strait Islanders and Island Councillors and analysing a range of government documents, the research compares and contrasts responses at different governance scales. The research demonstrates that, whilst Torres Strait communities are responding in a range of different ways to delay and, ideally, prevent relocation from their ancestral homelands, State and Federal Government responses are characterised by exclusion, negation and absence, exhibiting a comprehensive lack of action and an unwillingness to fund the adaptation initiatives that are urgently required. What little support has been offered has been blatantly contrary to the concerns and priorities of Torres Strait communities.
At the local level, Torres Strait communities perceive climate change as a direct threat to land, local knowledge, language, culture and identity. In this sense, climate change itself is arguably furthering the project of colonialism, albeit indirectly. The continuing exclusion, despite repeated requests for help, generates a deep sense of frustration towards government within Torres Strait communities.
The value of 'situated knowledges', and cross-cultural modes of engagement underpin this research project, and are argued to be useful in unsettling the 'deep colonising' attitudes that characterise the current approach to climate change adaptation in the Torres Strait. Adapting to climate change in the Torres Strait requires a holistic approach that acknowledges and challenges the historical disadvantages that result from the material and discursive legacies of colonialism and embraces 'ontological pluralism' and Indigenous perspectives on climate change. This is necessary for challenging the 'frontier imaginings' which prevent the implementation of culturally appropriate adaptation strategies. Moreover, such a holistic and engaged approach will help move Australia towards more decolonised versions and visions of the future.
Congratulatory letter to PM Gillard on Carbon Pricing legislation
ERC Director, Phil Glendenning, and Eco-Justice Coordinator, Jill Finnane, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard congratulating her on the passage through the House of Representatives of carbon pricing legislation.
"Our hope is that the Australian community will come to understand and recognise that this major reform taxes the big polluters in order to force them to clean up their way of energy production to the benefit all," they write.
The legislation, comprising a suite of nineteen bills, was passed 74 votes to 72 with support of Green and independents MP's. It is expected to passed through the Senate without amendment in the next parliamentary session, commencing 30th October 2011, and to enter into effect on the 1st July 2012.
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Forum -- COP17: Outcomes from Durban - Was it worth it?
Forum: COP17: Outcomes from Durban - Was it worth it?
When: 5:30pm-8:00pm, Mon 12 Dec 2011,
Where: UTS - Cb10/04.470. Building 10 2nd Level, University of Technology, Institute for Sustainable Futures, 235 Jones St., Ultimo
Join Phil Glendenning, ERC Director, film maker Tom Zubrycki, and Pacific Calling Partnership delegates to Durban, Claire Anterea, and Geraldine Kearney, for a discussion on the significance of what happened in Durban and implications for the future of Pacific Island Countries.
Cost: Free (donations welcome to assist catering costs)
RSVP (for catering): jillf [at] erc.org.au
Further info: Pacific Calling Partnership (02) 8762 4200
The Edmund Rice Centre director, Phil Glendenning, today expressed his deep sorrow at news of the weekend asylum boat disaster. “This event is an utter tragedy,” he said. “We offer heart-felt condolences to the families of all those who have perished.”
“First, Australia should double our annual national humanitarian migration intake - with the increase taking the form of a major program of settlement of refugees from within our own region. Such an initiative would remove the incentive for people of jumping on a boat and risking their lives.”
“Second, our politicians have got to stop playing partisan politics with this issue. The level of leadership displayed by both major political parties on this issue has been simply appalling.”
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Fact-sheets on key issues:
ERC initiative the Pacific Calling Partnership promotes awareness of the devastating effects of climate change on low-lying island communities of the Pacific. The PCP campaign goes beyond both the science and the spin to make evident 'the human face of climate change'.
Update: ERC Director, Phil Glendenning, recently returned to Australia from Afghanistan after 10 days interviewing returned asylum seekers again in Kabul.
ERC is redoubling our efforts to find a third-country resettlement option for those returnees from Australia with whom we have been able to make contact. We need financial support to achieve this.
Such work uncovers high levels of risk for the deportees (and for our researchers). Research publications are available here.
Listen to Phil speak of the visit to ABC Radio National's Phillip Adams.
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