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By now, you probably know. On Friday, Prime Minister Rudd announced that all asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement – regardless of whether they’re found to have a legitimate claim for asylum.
Whether you abhor or reluctantly support it, there’s no denying what this policy means: detaining asylum seekers in tents on a malarial island off the coast of an impoverished, violence-ridden state. We are sending refugees to a country Australia has actually sheltered refugees from. GetUp have spoken directly to children and families inside the Manus Island detention centre, which Mr Rudd plans to expand, who have told us about the conditions there.
Many of us are looking for information free from the political rhetoric of Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott – and looking for what we can do to make this situation less horrid. We’ll be in touch with more you can do in coming days and weeks. Here are two ways to make a difference now:
1 – Email or call your local MP and Senator today. What they hear from the community now is of huge influence, and there’s so much we need to fight for now. Here’s what’s at stake in coming weeks
2 – Share and discuss these 5 key facts with friends and family. Friday’s announcement – and the last ten years – show that we can’t have a more compassionate and sensible policy on asylum seekers until we change the national conversation. We can’t rely on our political leaders to do that. It’s up to all of us to bring facts and fairness back to this debate.
the GetUp team
Troops ready to reopen detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, The Australian, 14 August 2012. Available here.
Aid Budget Statement 2013-14. Available here.
Australia vs. the World, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, July 2013. Available here.
World refugee increase is highest since 1999, UNHCR report shows, The Guardian Australia, 19 June 2013. Available here.
Smart Traveller: Papua New Guinea, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Available here.
Reducing sexual and domestic violence in Papua New Guinea, Media Release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Bob Carr, 2 December 2012. Available here.
From refugee to businessman: a success story, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2013. Available here.
When we sent this email on Friday, July 26, we used some misleading language we need to correct.
The email indicated the dumping and dredging would occur “in our Reef”. For clarification, the dredging is proposed in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The dredge spoil is proposed to be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Not all parts of these protected areas are coral reef.
Also for clarification, Minister Butler is responsible for the decision regarding dredging, but not the dumping of the resulting dredge spoil. That decision made by the GBRMPA, which is a separate Government body.
Want to protect the Reef for generations to come? If the answer is yes, you might want to give new Environment Minister Mark Butler a bell – and quick.
Two weeks from now Minister Butler will make a critical decision with massive ramifications for the future of the Reef. He’ll be deciding on whether or not to allow 3 million cubic metres of seabed to be dredged in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The resulting dredge spoil is planned to be dumped right in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The mining industry is already in his ear, so we need to be even louder. Let’s bombard him with personalised postcards, calls and emails so he can’t ignore the lasting legacy his decision will leave on the health of our World Heritage listed Reef, the tourism industry and our cherished native marine life:
The dredging involves getting huge machines to dig deep trenches in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, right through the habitat of our iconic marine life. It will turn the area into a coal-shipping superhighway from Abbot Point terminal.
Mark Butler has yet to make a major decision on our Reef. Before he begins with one that would mean furthering development of the largest coal port in the world, let’s make sure he gets a taste of the opposition he’ll be facing if he puts mining interests ahead of people’s interests.
Have you seen what dredging actually looks like?
It’s not a pretty picture but it’s the stark reality of what our beloved Great Barrier Reef could look like if we continue to rapidly develop coal export facilities all along our pristine coast. Not exactly a tourist attraction. As new Minister for Climate, Environment, Heritage and Water, Minister Butler needs to hear from the people who are looking out for the long-term interests of our economy and environment and not short term gain for industry. He needs to hear from you.
Send your message to Minister Butler and we’ll print them on these postcards and mail them to his office.
As well as the huge damage the dredging will do to the delicate Great Barrier Reef ecosystem, Abbot Point’s expansion would have disastrous consequences for our climate. If all the coal earmarked to be dug up each year is burned, it will export the equivalent of 130% of Australia’s total current annual Co2 emissions. It’s reckless and contradictory for our leaders to call this the critical decade for climate change, while simultaneously supporting some of the world’s largest coal projects.
By putting hundreds of personalised visual cards, emails and calls in front of him every day for a week, he should get a pretty good idea of how important the future of the Reef is to Australians. Everywhere he looks, he’ll be surrounded by images of the beautiful reef he is considering covering in dredge spoil.
There’s more to come, too. GetUp members have helped run advertising campaigns, commission scientific reports, produce submissions, send an environmental campaigner to Glencore-Xstrata’s AGM in Switzerland and more. In the next few days we’ll release a scientific report showing a clear correlation between dredging and harmful effects on marine life. Keep an eye out in the press.
Let’s get loud,
the GetUp team
PS – Speaking of getting loud, we’ve been busy working with our friends at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, 350, and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition organising a massive rally for the Reef for Sunday August 25 in the middle of Brisbane. It will be fun, highly visible and impossible to ignore. We need GetUp members to turn out by the thousands! Pencil in the date for now, and we’ll be in contact with more information closer to the event.
I just wanted to let you know about some good news this week – and share an opportunity to say thank you to the MP who helped make it happen. Parliament passed the ‘water trigger bill’ which will ensure the impact on water is considered before CSG or coal projects are approved.
One of the many scary things about CSG mining is the threat it poses to our water supply. Pumping huge volumes of chemicals underground, at high pressure, can have a detrimental impact on our water reserves.
Until now, the Federal Government has had no legal power to intervene in cases where water resources could be put at risk. This week, Parliament agreed to change that. As a result, the Federal Government is already contacting scores of mines and CSG projects to demand a thorough analysis on the impact of their plans on ground and surface water.
Independent MP Tony Windsor introduced and championed the Bill to make this happen. It’s been a long fight, and we reckon he deserves a huge “congratulations”.
We’ve booked a huge “thank you” advertisement in Mr Windsor’s local paper so his constituents can see what he achieved this week. Wouldn’t it be great if thousands of us from across the country signed it, to show that good deeds and hard fights pay off?
Add your name now to say thanks: www.getup.org.au/thanks-tony-windsor
GetUp members had a big part to play in this win. Over the past two years, tens of thousands of GetUp members chipped in to run TV, newspaper and radio ads, attended events and rallies, lobbied your local MPs, made submissions to government inquiries and assessment processes and reached out to your friends and family to make sure they know of the risks from CSG. Your actions and support have helped achieved this.
And of course, while Mr Windsor sponsored the bill, so many people deserve plaudits. It was a hard battle against the Coalition and CSG lobby – but succeeded because of Mr Windsor and neighbouring Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, the Greens (particularly Senator Larissa Waters), the ALP (particularly Environment Minister Tony Burke, and MPs Justine Elliott, Janelle Saffin and Laurie Ferguson), our friends at Lock the Gate Alliance, and the Australian Conservation Foundation, and all the community activists who have made this happen.
The battle to stop CSG development is far from over. Although the Greens fought hard, Parliament declined to extend the bill to shale gas developments and voted against allowing landowners to lock out CSG companies. Through GetUp, we often work together to demand more of our politicians, and we’ll continue to do so – today let’s congratulate an example of progress.
As the Bill was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Windsor was speaking to a crowd of more than 1000 GetUp members across town in Canberra at our Rally for Renewables, where he reinforced his support for climate action, and encouraged community activists to keep up the fight.
Let’s show our thanks to Mr Windsor, and all the other politicians who stood up to protect our water from the damaging effects of CSG projects. Sign your name today – we’ll compile all the signatures and run them in a giant thank you ad in Mr Windsor’s local newspaper.
Sam, for the GetUp team.
PS – Have you had a chance to check out the inspiring photos thousands of GetUp members submitted last week when they “played their gender cards?” We had such an amazing response that we turned the images people submitted into a full page print ad. We’re so close to being able to run it in this Saturday’s The Australian – we just need to raise $6000 more by the end of today to help ensure the issues that still affect women on a daily basis are on the national agenda. Will you help share their messages? www.getup.org.au/play-the-gender-card
Yesterday a series of outrageous events cast a long-overdue light on a deep rot. Let’s call it what it is: deep, rank, sexist bulls*#t.
First, the coach of our national soccer team declared in a press conference that “women should shut up in public.” Then, we all saw a menu at a dinner hosted by a sitting MP which featured the item “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs & a Big Red Box”.
You know we’re fine with humour and cheeky wordplay. But something isn’t right when “jokes” like this come out of a major political party event. More importantly, they’re revealing the very real, very painful attitudes and injustices Australian women face every day.
When women leaders – most notably Prime Minister Gillard – attempt to raise the issues that affect the lives of women, a chorus of frightened, angry men rise up and accuse her of “playing the gender card.”
That phrase has become a crutch, a desperate attempt to stigmatise and silence men and women who care about gender equality. But together, we can break that stigma.
If playing the “gender card” means talking about real issues and pointing out how sexism still warps our politics and business, then it’s about time we *all* played the gender card. So today, let’s do just that.
Take a minute to write down your “gender card” — an issue you care about that unfairly affects the lives of Australian women. Then send in a photo of yourself holding up your card. We’ll turn your photo into an online collage, featuring all GetUp members who have sent in their gender cards, and run it as a print ad in The Australian. Let’s turn the phrase on its head and play our own gender card. It’s the perfect way to undermine their biggest weapon.
Click here to take action: http://www.getup.org.au/my-gender-card
Many GetUp members recently told us what issue is most important to them this election in last week’s 2013 Vision Survey. Melissa from Coromandel Valley, SA and thousands of others spoke about equality for women. Melissa said:
“The number one issue for me this election is full equality for women, because I am a women and I deserve, as do all women, to have equal status and opportunities.”
Ending deeply rooted sexism in Australian society is a long term goal. It won’t be settled in this or any election. But it can be done.
We can take a step today by showing every sexist commentator that every time they try to silence a woman leader by accusing her of playing the gender card, a thousand more Australians will stand up to proudly play their own.
Thanks for standing up,
Kelsey, Barbara and Sam, for the GetUp team
PS – This morning we applaud Tony Abbott for categorically ruling out doing any deals on abortion policy with DLP Senator John Madigan, should Mr Abbott become Prime Minister. Senator Madigan, who may hold the balance of power in the Senate after the election, has argued that abortion should be illegal, even in circumstances of rape.
PPS – From some of the media reactions, you’d think the Prime Minister’s speech this week was full of misanthropic bile and cheap politics. Actually, it was mostly about policies like superannuation, childcare, and paid parental leave (on which we congratulate both sides of politics). You can read it here: http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/transcript-remarks-launch-women-gillard
You know something is deeply wrong when kids no longer quote player statistics, they quote betting odds.
Just like overpriced pastry goods and a crowded train ride home, taking the kids to the footy is now inextricably linked with exposure to gambling. Whether it’s constant updates on live odds or watching Tom Waterhouse sign autographs at half time, seeing gambling in sport is unavoidable. Kids can’t even watch the game at home without being inundated by ads urging people to have a punt.
You may have seen that yesterday the Government outlined a plan to ban broadcasting of odds and gambling ads during play. It’s a great start. But tomorrow the ALP Caucus is meeting to debate a suggestion by Stephen Jones MP that would flat-out ban all gambling advertising during all sports broadcasts except for horse racing and the greyhounds. Even better!
What MPs hear from their local constituents today could really tip the balance tomorrow. What will their staff advise your MP before the meeting tomorrow? How about: “Boss, seriously, we got 600 emails about that yesterday. Voters would love it if we went further!”
You know what to do. Click the below link to contact your local ALP MP or Senator before tomorrow’s debate:
Since the start of the footy season, bookmaker Tom Waterhouse has increased his TV advertising budget by 340%.  Parents and communities are taking notice and have made it clear that it’s time our sports are cleaned up and rid of gambling’s insidious presence.
It’s thanks to tireless campaigning from communities and leaders around Australia that we’ve even gotten this far. A full ban is supported by tireless gambling crusaders like the Rev. Tim Costello, and is being championed in Canberra by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, Andrew Wilkie MP and the Greens’ Senator Richard DiNatale. It’s also backed by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.
Will you ask Caucus members to deliver real reform, and take Australia’s great sporting codes back from the gambling companies?
GetUp members have rallied to protect vulnerable members of our society from exploitation by the gambling industry many times before, whether by diving the national ‘Stop the Loss’ campaign for pokies reform, lobbying to limit pokies bets to $1 a spin, and forcing Woolworths – Australia’s largest poker machine owner – to confront the issue by holding an Extraordinary General Meeting. Sports gambling advertising could lead to a new generation of problem gamblers unless we speak up now.
Despite what we’ve seen in recent months, gambling has never been a central feature of any code of football, nor should it be.
Let’s beat the odds and ban the ads.
Thanks for all that you do,
Erin, for the GetUp team.
We’ve received many emails in the last week from GetUp members who are joining new political parties that are starting up. In an election where millions of Australians are fed up with the politics as usual, it seems quite a few Australians are simply starting their own parties.
Some you may have heard of, like Clive Palmer’s — but not everyone is a billionaire with media attention galore. Some of these parties are being run by single parents standing up against cuts to their parents’ payments; by locals against Coal Seam Gas; or by community groups for voluntary euthanasia
To register a new party requires 500 members to join, and the deadline for that is tonight.
The power of GetUp is our independence — our ability to criticise or applaud all parties without fear or favour. We’ll never be a political party, nor endorse one. But GetUp is all about giving Australians opportunities to participate in our democracy. So here’s an opportunity. We can’t vouch for, and certainly don’t endorse, any of these parties, but we thought you might be interested in finding out more and making a decision for yourself.
Here are some new parties you may not have heard of. They are free to join online. We’ve taken these statements from their websites:
Stop Coal Seam Gas – (need more members to reach 500 today) “The Stop CSG Party will work to protect communities and farmland from invasive coal seam gas mining by pressuring government to ban CSG.”
Single Parents’ Party – (need more members to reach 500 today) “Parenting is hard. Especially for the 950,000 single parent families living in Australia. Its becoming even harder as the government continues to cut support for single parents and their children. We will advocate to reverse the cuts that are forcing families like ours below the poverty line.”
The Lamington Party – “For an Australia… where the regional cities are connected to the capitals … our government is a case study for democracy and efficiency… and one where we all have a strong social safety net and equal opportunity to succeed in life.”
Voluntary Euthanasia Party – “Over four in five Australians are in favour of new legislation and we wish to allow that sentiment to be clearly demonstrated at the ballot box. The Voluntary Euthanasia Party aims to ensure dignity in the final years of life, by raising the profile of this issue in order to engender the necessary political will for change.”
Australian Sovereignty Party – Stand for “no carbon tax”, “no personal income tax”, and “no GST”; “no more wide open borders”, and “no treaties without referendums,” among other policies.
The Future Party – “The Future Party is a new movement of people who are dedicated to thinking of long term solutions to advance our society. The Future Party believes quality of life is improved primarily through technological developments, sourced through a scientific approach to knowledge in the context of democracy and peace.”
WikiLeaks Party – “The WikiLeaks Party stands for unswerving commitment to the core principles of civic courage nourished by understanding and truthfulness and the free flow of information.”
Palmer United Party – Clive Palmer’s party with policies including “Abolish carbon tax;” “ensure refugees are given opportunities;” “creating mineral wealth;” and “develop right across Australia where the wealth is.”
And here’s some others that members have already written to us about today:
The Australian Children Rights Party – The ACRP’s objective is to ensure as much as is possible that the Commonwealth Government fulfils its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
These are the new parties we’re aware of (parties that are not yet listed on the AEC’s website), but there are doubtless more. Let us know if we’ve missed one in the comments, or by emailing us at email@example.com.
And here are some parties you’ve probably heard of already.
More established parties are also gearing up for the election and preselecting candidates in the coming months. Whichever party best represents you, being a member means you can influence what they stand for, and who stands for them as candidates. Click here for a full list, including major parties like the Liberals, Nationals, Labor, and the Greens — or smaller groups from Animal Justice to Family First.
AEC Registered parties list: aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/Party_Registration/Registered_parties/index.htm”
GetUp is all about participating in politics. Joining a political party is by no means the only, or the best, way to do that! But it’s one way, and we thought you might find these parties interesting regardless. In an age when many teenagers have more Facebook friends than political parties have members, having more people involved in the organisations that represent us could be a great thing.
Of course, we strongly believe that you don’t need to join a party to make a difference! GetUp will never be a political party, and we don’t endorse particular parties. In fact, we believe that politics is too important to be left to politicians. That’s why we exist: to give Australians opportunities to come together on important issues and take targeted, strategic action. Together, we praise and criticise politicians of all stripes without fear nor favour, based on the issues GetUp members care about. Your actions make the campaigns powerful, and your donations fund the organisation’s costs and campaigns.
the GetUp team.
Shut it down.
That’s what politicians need to hear loud and clear from as many Australians as possible as the evidence continues to mount against the inhumane, Manus Island processing centre in Papua New Guinea.
Filthy drinking water, cramped living arrangements, inescapable heat and humidity, hordes of disease-carrying mosquitoes and the torment of not knowing why you are there or how long it will be before you are free. These conditions are unimaginable to most Australians – yet thirty children, some as young as ten, and their families still remain on Manus Island.
Sign the petition calling for the immediate closure of the Manus Island processing centre: www.getup.org.au/shut-down-manus
Yet Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor has since rejected these claims, saying families would remain on Manus Island because of its “deterrent” effect – despite concerns from Opposition immigration minister Scott Morrison, who said it was obvious families shouldn’t be there.2
Enough is enough. To continue to operate this facility in light of all that we now know, should be criminal.
It’s time to shut it down. Sign this petition so that next week GetUp members can deliver it in person to Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor and Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, demanding the immediate closure of Manus Island. You can help to free the children who shared their heartbreaking stories with us.
Yours in hope,
Erin for the GetUp team.
PS — Is there a question you’d like to ask Brendan O’Connor and Scott Morrison? Now is your chance to ask those burning refugee questions of both parties. We’re collating the top five questions and delivering them, along with the petition, to both ministers next week. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
 View the full ABC 4 Corners story ‘No Advantage’, which aired on 29 April 2013, here
 ‘No plans to move families off Manus Island’, 30 April 2013. Available here
 ‘Refugee Expert Slams Manus Island Processing Centre’, 5 April 2013. Available here
 ‘Immigration criticises own Manus asylum centre’, 16 April 2013. Available here
Right now there’s a brief window for real change on a new campaign before us, change capable of relieving unimaginable suffering for many Australians. Before we take any action, we’re looking to you, the members who make up the GetUp movement, for guidance on this important campaign.
Dying with dignity in the face of an unavoidable terminal illness and horrific suffering is something that many GetUp members have told us matters deeply to them.
Here’s the opportunity: there’s a bill about to be introduced into NSW State Parliament that would give patients the legal right to request a humane, medically-assisted death (voluntary euthanasia). This option includes robust legal safeguards and would only apply to individuals suffering from painful terminal illness.
Unfortunately we already know that too many Australians choose to end their suffering by the only legal means available to them. Options such as ending life support treatment, cutting off food and water or suiciding, often violently. These options are distressing, prolong suffering and cause further grief and anxiety. They can also push family, friends and medical support away when they’re needed most.
We would really like to hear from you regarding this important campaign. Please click here to take a few minutes to fill out a short survey to tell us your thoughts or share your personal story: www.getup.org.au/share-your-story
The most up-to-date polling shows that more than 80% of Australians support assisted dying where appropriate safeguards are in place. 1 For those who are faced with the choice to end their suffering on their own terms, it’s a difficult decision. In places such as Oregon in the United States (where assisted dying accounts for less than 1% of deaths) the knowledge that patients are able to end their suffering in the most dignified and controlled way possible has made provided great comfort to many approaching the end of their lives.
In researching and considering this campaign, we’ve heard from medical professionals, lawyers and academics about the critical safeguards in place, which will ensure people are capable of making the decision themselves and multiple doctors have affirmed their condition is indeed terminal.
We’ve heard from GetUp members who’ve been in that dire situation and their stories will stay with us forever. Stories like that of Gabrielle, who had to watch her mother die a slow and excruciating death from cancer at age 67, palliative care staff powerless to relieve her suffering.
We watched the video appeal from Angelique Flowers, who pleaded with then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to reconsider Australia’s assisted death laws before bowel cancer caused her horrific and unavoidable death, at just 31. We listened to members from all over the country about their experiences watching a loved one endure unimaginable suffering that can’t be cured, leaving them with no choice but to painfully wait for the inevitable. We have cried listening to their stories.
Now, we’re asking for your help, and your thoughts. While it’s something the majority of Australians support, and steps have already been taken in states and territories all over the country to change the laws, it’s here in NSW that a new bill stands the best chance of succeeding – if we decide to help politicians overcome the barriers. To do that, we need to bring this issue out of the shadows, summon the courage to talk about death openly and with compassion and launch a campaign with the support of the powerful GetUp movement that has the ability to bring about real change for the people who rely on our support.
We know your stories are powerful, and we honour and respect your views on this difficult subject. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts: www.getup.org.au/share-your-story
The GetUp team
PS. If you’d rather not hear from us again on this issue, take the survey to share your thoughts, or reply to this email and let us know.
 Newspoll 2007, view here.