Author Archive: roman

Ban the Bomb!

There was an excellent talk by Professor Thakur, Director of the ANU Centre for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament on the new UN treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons, Building Nuclear Peace. You can hear the whole speech in the Hawke Centre podcast of the event, or get a quick overview in this interview from 3d’s Environment Show.

Also of considerable interest is the acceptance speech last Sunday night, as ICAN was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. It starts at the 50:51 mark in the ceremony video.… Read more >>

A New Threat to Charities and Environmental Organisations

December 7th: the Turnbull Government announced a new threat to Environmental organisations and Australia’s charity sector.

After a long-running campaign waged by the Minerals Council and the hard right to strip environmental organisations of their charitable status, the Turnbull government has appointed a known ideological warrior as head of the charities commission.

The Turnbull government has appointed Gary Johns to lead the federal charities regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-For- Profits Commission (ACNC).

TAKE ACTION to Defend Enviro Orgs: Call on PM Turnbull to stare down the hard right on charities

The ACNC monitors the compliance of charities and maintains a list of registered organisations. It also ensures charities abide by the laws in the Charities Act.  Assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar announced the appointment at Parliament House on Thursday morning.

Over 100 Australian charities wrote an open letter in June to the Prime Minister after Assistant Minister Sukkar failed to re-appoint Susan Pascoe as Commissioner, despite very strong positive recommendations for her reappointment.  The Assistant Minister had refused to meet with anyone from the ACNC for over six months even though he is responsible for the agency, and did not even meet with Susan Pascoe prior to not renewing her contract.

Gary Johns’ track record on charities

The former Labor MP has expressed controversial views about charities in the past. He previously argued that advocacy should not count as a charitable purpose and backed an unrealised Abbott government promise to remove it.

Such a reform would be devastating for environmental charities. He was Senior Fellow at the conservative Australian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (the IPA), and the head of its Non-Government Organisation Unit. He joined the IPA in 1997 and left in 2006. The IPA has had a long term interest is seeing green groups lose government funding (background here).… Read more >>

Trade deals must not be negotiated in secret

Trade deals affect people’s everyday lives from the food we eat to the energy we use, and should not be discussed in secret, behind closed doors. Yet sadly, this is exactly what is happening at this year’s upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Buenos Aires from 10-13 December.

Friends of the Earth International has been advocating for a fair and sustainable trade agenda for over two decades, yet this is the first time we have been banned from participating in the WTO.

In an unprecedented move, the Argentine government revoked our accreditation, together with 60 individuals from a diverse range of trade unions, farmers’ and consumer rights organisations.

The official reason for our ban is that we have “been making explicate calls for violent protests on social media, desiring to create scenes of chaos and intimidation.” Yet this information can be disproved simply by checking our Twitter account, which has never made incitements to violence.
“Locking people out of the WTO will only further undermine its legitimacy.”

At the same time, we do not shy away disagreeing with many of the pro-corporate policies and deals being pushed by the WTO and the Argentine government, which are often stumbling blocks for action on climate change.

When India’s National Solar Mission, which aims to bring energy to millions of people by building 100 GW of solar energy, was found “guilty” by the WTO of creating local jobs, we spoke up.

We have also protested WTO policies that penalise and prohibit developing countries from undertaking public stockholding programmes. This blocks food sovereignty for the world’s poorest, and livelihoods for peasant, indigenous and small-scale farmers, yet allows the EU and USA to provide massive global market distorting subsidies that beef up agribusiness interests while ruining farmers abroad.

A crackdown on our rights to debate and oppose such trade policies is an attack on our ability to decide what kind of world we want to live in.Read more >>

Zombie TPP trade deal threatens climate

Australia/ Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2017: This weekend trade ministers from the 11 remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries have attempted to salvage the trade deal by suspending a number of controversial provisions. Leaders could not reach a final agreement as predicted yet endorsed the deal in a statement and made a commitment to continue negotiations.

Friends of the Earth International warns that the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership would still threaten people and planet, if approved.

Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Resisting Neo-Liberalism Coordinator, said:

“The zombie TPP deal continues to stagger on terrorizing people across the Asia Pacific. Now is the time to put this deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive deal to rest. Trade can not trump climate action any longer.”

“Over 160 countries are currently taking part in international climate negotiations in Bonn to reduce greenhouse emissions, yet the zombie TPP trade deal would undermine climate action by protecting ‘free trade’ in dirty energy products and lead to an increase in coal, oil and gas exports, fuelling global warming.”

Read more >>