Archive for February, 2013

Join us: GetTogethers in your community

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Illawarra GetTogether 2010
Election GetTogether, Illawarra, 2010.

Word on the street is that lots of Australians feel frustrated with the current political climate. But here’s what we know; when the people lead, politicians follow. We are those people. Our movement is made of more than 625,638 Australians – more than all of the major political parties combined! We lead the way on the big ideas and right now is the time to step it up and set a new course.

On March 21, all across Australia, GetUp members will host and participate in GetTogethers in living rooms and at kitchen tables, in cafes, pubs, workplaces and churches to decide on a people’s election agenda. The conversations will be open, lively, passionate and focused on the big issues that will shape Australia’s future and define us as a country. It’s these conversations that will set the agenda for GetUp’s campaigns in this crucial election year.

Are you ready to set a new course for Australia by hosting an Election GetTogether?

What: Election GetTogether
When: 7pm, 21 March 2013
Where: Your home or your favourite neighbourhood cafe, pub, a workplace or church.
RSVP to host:

By hosting a GetTogether you’re helping to build a strong movement to put the progressive issues we all care about on the agenda for the election. You don’t need any special political knowledge, experience or equipment, just access to a comfortable space where six or more people can meet together. We’ll send you out a host pack that contains everything you need to know to run a successful GetTogether.

Are you in? Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Enter your postcode and register your GetTogether online:
  2. We’ll send you a handy host pack with tips on how to run your GetTogether;
  3. Welcome your friendly fellow GetUp members on 21 March; and
  4. Report the results of your GetTogether online on the GetUp website to form a part of our election agenda.

Last election we worked together to determine the priorities of our movement.Together we kept climate change on the agenda, fought for a fair go for asylum seekers, and won over $2 billion in commitments for mental health care. GetTogethers are our campaign compass, the glue that hold our movement together and our secret weapon combined. You can play a powerful role this election by hosting an election GetTogether.

Thanks for all that you do,
Carl, for the GetUp team.

PS – Can’t host a GetTogether but still want to be part of it? Don’t worry. We’ll be in touch soon with instructions on how to register as a guest for a GetTogether in your local area.

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28th February 2013

Make a submission: Marriage Equality

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Residents of NSW: you have an historic opportunity to help pass legislation that would finally end marriage discrimination in your state. But the next four days are critical.

Five brave NSW Parliamentarians are reaching out across party lines to support a State Marriage Equality Bill 2013. The Bill would give same-sex couples the right to marry in NSW, recognising and honouring all love equally in law.

We’ve never been this close to equality in NSW. The legislation is written, a public inquiry period is underway, and the five state Parliamentarians – a National, a Liberal, an Independent, a Green and a member of the Labor Party – are all championing equality in their own party rooms. But to finish the job, they need your support.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the bill closes this Friday. Can you tell the NSW Government what passing the Marriage Equality Bill would mean to you and the people in your life?

Without a strong number of submissions, it will be an uphill battle for the Bill’s Parliamentary champions to convince their own parties to take a risk and get it passed. But a record-breaking number of moving stories have real potential to change hearts, minds and votes.

The highest number of submissions ever lodged in favour of a piece of legislation in a NSW Parliamentary inquiry is 2,400. Can you write a few sentences, right now, to help break the record? It only takes one minute.

Write a message to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry:

The Nationals’ Trevor Khan puts it this way: “This inquiry is your best chance to have your voice heard. With opponents of LGBTI equality mobilising we need your contribution to ensure this inquiry receives as many submissions as possible.

Love is patient. Love is kind. But the love between devoted LGBTI couples has waited long enough to be recognised by our Parliaments and courts.

With hope and love,
The GetUp team

PS – Your comments don’t have to be long or complicated. The Liberals’ Bruce Notley-Smith has this advice: “The best submissions are the ones that come from the heart and the ones written by mums and dads supporting their kids.” Click here to share why you think it’s finally time for NSW to recognise marriage equality:

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26th February 2013

5 things you might have missed this week

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Had a busy week? We have too, but luckily ’5 things’ is back to keep you in the loop. These five bite-size news pieces may not have made the front page of your paper, but are worth a read. Did we miss anything? Add it in the comments below.

1. A rare case of bipartisanship was on display in Canberra when the ‘Act of Recognition’ was voted in with unanimous party support on February 13. This seminal moment brings Australia one step closer to reconciliation, and will hopefully pave the way for a referendum granting Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians to be held next year. You can sign up to join the 132,000 other Australians who support recognition here.

2. Sadly, three time cancer survivor Yvonne D’arcy lost her ‘David vs Goliath’ battle this week against mega US pharmaceutical company Myriad Genetics.The landmark decision overtuned the application made by Ms Darcy and fellow advocacy group Cancer Voices Australia, allowing for the breast cancer gene BRCA1 to be patented in Australia. Concerns have been raised over implications for future cancer treatments and research. “We were doing this for future generations and I’m just so disappointed”, Yvonne said

3. Although it may be just under seven months away, it’s never too early to make sure that you’re enrolled to vote. Alarmingly, new data released from the Australian Elecotral Commission has revealed that only 1 in 2 18-19 year olds are currently on the electoral role. It’s important that the youth have their voices heard this election year, and registering is easy- just jump on the AEC website and enrol online.

4. Thousands of Australians have spoken out against the proposed Carmichael Mine in Central North Queensland, hitting the QLD State Government with a barrage of over 14,000 public submissions. A big thank you to all of our members who took action in our ‘Carmichael Mine-Strosity’ campaign to stop the development of what could be Australia’s largest coal mine. Serious concerns have been raised over the validity of the mining conglomerate Adani Group’s Environmental Impact Statement for the mine. Seems it’s time for Tony Burke to finally reject this monster mistake.

5. Now for something to brighten up your Friday. Sinatra may have the voice, but the octogenarian pensioner Raymond Borzelli, star of this year’s Tropfest Runner-Up film, proves he’s certainly still got the moves. Borzelli was nothing but smiles (minus a few front teeth) when he found out that the film ‘Better than Sinatra’, directed by Jefferson Grainger, had been awarded second prize at the world’s largest short film festival on Sunday night. The decision was, as always, not without controversy- what did you think of the winner?

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22nd February 2013

Latest campaign: let’s make this happen

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Discrimination Hero

I have some good news, and quick, urgent action you can take to help protect Australians from discrimination.

What’s at stake?
1 – Protecting people from discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex.
2 – Making religious organisations follow the same discrimination rules as everyone else in many areas (so religious schools can’t expel gay students or refuse welfare services to pregnant women).
3 – Preventing discrimination because of irrelevant criminal records, which particularly impacts Indigenous communities.

Late yesterday, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommended extending Australia’s anti-discrimination protection to include these measures and more. Tens of thousands of GetUp members either made submissions to the committee or contacted their MPs about the review. You made an impact! And against all expectations, the committee recommended every measure we fought for. Now it’s up to the new Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, and your local MP, to pass what would become the strongest protections from discrimination in Australia’s history.

Please take 30 seconds to sign this urgent petition before we deliver it to the Attorney-General on Tuesday — and if you have another 2 minutes, follow up by contacting your local MP using our quick and easy tool:

Watch for it: this weekend the usual suspects will attack these recommendations hard. Janet Albrechtson and Andrew Bolt will write columns about the unprecedented attack on their freedoms (to discriminate – Mr Bolt has some personal experience with anti-discrimination laws). Conservative think tanks will make comparisons to thought-police. They’re gearing up not only to block these improvements, but also to push for existing anti-discrimination protections to be dismantled if an Abbott Government is elected.

It’s critical that MPs know anti-discrimination recommendations have widespread support. The Coalition already indicated (sight unseen) that they won’t support the legislation, so we need to steel the resolve of every ALP, independent and Green Member of Parliament.

These laws aren’t reviewed very often. If adopted, these recommendations would represent the strongest protection from discrimination in Australia’s history. This kind of chance comes around once every few decades.

Congratulations for getting this far!
the GetUp team.

PS – Here’s another way to help: this will be a hot topic on talkback the next few days. Let’s make our voices heard! Simply click here to “like” the GetUp Facebook page, then check the page to keep up with when and where the lines are open. Let us know when you hear anti-discrimination laws being discussed so other GetUp members can join in.

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22nd February 2013

Marriage in NSW: This is the year

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Support marriage equality? Sign the petition to make marriage equality real this year in NSW:

Callum and Clinton
Callum Mathieson (L) and Clinton Bryan (R).

It’s hard to believe that in 2013 Australia doesn’t recognise the love, partnership and dignity of the union between Clinton and his husband Callum. Clinton sent us a heartfelt email a few days after his wedding to Callum in a touching ceremony, surrounded by family and friends. The GetUp community is all about sharing and Clinton has generously shared the experience of marrying the man he loves with us all – read his story below.

This year we have a chance to change the law in NSW so that Callum, Clinton and every other couple who want their relationship to be legally recognised can do so. A group of NSW MPs from across the political spectrum are organising to make marriage equality a reality.

Can you sign the petition to members of NSW Parliament to support the push for marriage equality in NSW?

We know that other states are considering passing their own marriage equality legislation. A successful marriage equality bill in NSW could be enough to tip them over the edge and put pressure on the Federal Government as well. It won’t be easy, but this could be our best chance to make real progress towards marriage equality.

Can you add you name to the petition to members of NSW Parliament for marriage equality legislation this year?

Thanks for sharing the love,
The GetUp team.


Hi there,

My name is Clinton, and I am 29 years old. On November the 16th 2012 I got married to Callum Mathieson at Dunbar House in Watsons Bay Sydney. While we know that technically we did not get ”married” nor will we be ”husbands”, this day was treated as such ever since we got engaged.

When Callum proposed we originally were going to wait until it became legal. There is just something special about exchanging vows that has more impact if they were legally recognised. Though the thought of waiting for 5, 10 or even 15 years for legalities to catch up with social opinion was just not an option. The thought of someone else deciding when we were ready for this next chapter in our lives didn’t seem to sit well with us. Why should politics dictate when we feel that we want to get married, or at all?

So we decided to do it anyway. And on the 16th of November Callum and I walked down the aisle accompanied by our mothers and witnessed by our fathers.

Our wedding is an example of what a modern day wedding looks like. It’s not a man and a woman, a man and a man or even a woman and a woman. But two people, standing in front of the most important people in their lives expressing their love and devotion to each other. Witnessed by family and friends and recognised by law.

We are so very lucky to say that we had our mothers walking us down the aisle, our fathers signing the witness certificate. My brother was my best man, our sisters did a reading in the ceremony and our nieces and nephews made up the wedding party as our page boys and flower girls.

To our friends and family this day was not a wedding between two men or even a civil ceremony as it is most commonly called. But simply a Wedding.

Kindest regards,

Clinton Bryan

Don’t forget to sign the petition to members of NSW Parliament for marriage equality in NSW:

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19th February 2013

Update: Community winning on CSG

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You are winning the fight against coal seam gas!

People power has today shown it is more powerful than the coal seam gas companieslike AGL, Origin, Metgasco, Dart Energy and others! A network of community groups and individuals, led by Lock the Gate have organised a widespread defence of their communities, land and the environment. GetUp members like you have been a key part of this grass-roots movement, chipping in to run TV, newspaper and radio ads, attending events and rallies, lobbying your local MPs, making submissions to government inquiries and assessment processes and reaching out to your friends and family to make sure they know of the risks from CSG.

As a result the Premier has said that legal exclusion zones will be put in place around all residential areas and future residential growth areas. That means much of NSW, including all residential areas, no matter the size of the town, will be protected from new CSG expansion. For those in rural areas that aren’t yet protected, there’s more work to do; but today is an encouraging sign.

Furthermore, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) will be given new powers as the industry watchdog, with the power to revoke CSG licenses and the State’s chief scientist will be appointed to review impacts of CSG mining not covered by these reforms. There are also proposed exclusion zones around some industries such as vineyards and thoroughbred breeders.

We still have to ensure these commitments are delivered and that the other major impacts of CSG are addressed, such as the impact on:

  • People living in non-residential areas such as on farms;
  • Productive agricultural land;
  • Water catchments and aquifers; and
  • Natural assets like the Piliga Forest and other high conservation value areas.

Credit where credit is due. There is still more work to do but it is important we celebrate and consolidate this important and significant milestone. Please contact Premier Barry O’Farrell and thank him for this important commitment and urge him to deliver similar protections for farmers and agricultural land and natural areas too: Click here to tweet @BarryOFarrell, or click here to send him an email.

Together we’ve achieved so much and together we’ll need to remain vigilant to ensure these reforms and promises are delivered and that the impact of CSG on farmers, water and natural areas are addressed. If you’d like to support the continuing CSG campaign please donate here:

Again, congratulations on what is your significant achievement.
Paul for the GetUp team.

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19th February 2013

Latest campaign: Guns in NSW Parks

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Would you be comfortable bushwalking or camping in NSW’s beloved National Parks knowing that amateur hunters were out there with guns? Would you bring the kids?

Click here to share the campaign on Facebook.

Click here to see the full size ad image

Premier Barry O’Farrell acted against good advice, broke his pre-election promise that there will never be hunting in National Parks and made a dangerous deal with the Shooters Party. We can’t let him get away with trading our safety for political gain.

Chip in now to run this powerful ad in Sunday’s Sun Herald and demand that O’Farrell make good on his promise.

New Zealand knows all too well how hunting and recreation is a recipe for disaster. In late 2010, a 25-year-old New Zealand school teacher, Rosemary Ives, was shot dead while brushing her teeth at a camp site in a conservation park on the North Island. The amateur hunter responsible mistook her for a deer.[1] Then in 2011, another bushwalker — 23 year old Dougal Fyfe — was shot and killed by his best friend.[2]

Conceding to the Shooters is not only dangerous, it’s just plain stupid. The NSW Government’s own Draft Risk Assessment Report released in December of 2010 found that the program poses a “high” risk to human life. And the evidence shows that allowing amateur shooting will have no impact on feral animal control.[4]

How do we find ourselves in this ridiculously risky situation? Frankly, our Premier sold out. Our Premier, Barry O’Farrell, sold out by making a dangerous deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party to allow shooting in National Parks so he could sell off our public electricity assets. Now the Shooters and Fishers Party know that the government need them to pass any controversial reform. Who knows what they’ll ask for next?

Don’t let them get away with it!

Conceding to the Shooters is not only dangerous, it’s just plain stupid. We already know that many within the Office of Environment and Heritage answering to the Environment Minister Robyn Parker are fiercely opposed to this program because feral animal control should be left to wildlife and conservation experts, not amateur hunters (some as young as 12!). They also have concerns about waterways in our Parks being poisoned by rotting animal carcasses.

Let’s lend our strength to the voices of reason within the government to stop this before lives are lost.

Help run this ad and let Barry O’Farrell know that it’s not worth the risk:

Our National Parks should be places where everyone can escape, get close to nature and appreciate its beauty. Let’s not let them turn our Parks into a playground for gun-wielding hunters.

Thanks for all that you do,
The GetUp team.

PS – Thanks to the National Parks Association of NSW, the Public Service Association of NSW, WIRES and Wild Walks for their tireless campaigning over the last two years to stop shooting in NSW National Parks.

PPS – Click here to share this campaign on Facebook or click here to share it on Twitter.

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15th February 2013

Campaign update: 96% of the Tarkine is under threat

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Environment Minister Tony Burke has just announced that he’s backing down from protecting Tasmania’s Tarkine wilderness, ignoring the recommendations of the Australian Heritage Council and instead allowing mining to expand. Click here to write a letter to your MP asking that they support Heritage Listing for the Tarkine:

It’s not what we expected to hear. In fact it is far worse than even our worst fears.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has just announced that he will ignore the recommendations of the Australian Heritage Council who have recommended the Tarkine be protected and instead open it up for the mining industry. 96% of the Tarkine wilderness the Australian Heritage Council said should be protected will now face an uncertain future.

Now, Australia’s largest remaining single tract of Gondwanan rainforest could be dug up for short-term mines. Some of these mines will only operate for 2 years, but will leave permanent scars on the landscape. Earlier today I spoke to a tourism operator in the area, Darvis, who is devastated by the outcome; he’s built up a world class business which attracts visitors from around the world. But he hasn’t lost hope. He knows that you, along with the GetUp movement can help save the area – particularly in an election year.

Tony Burke said to media that “I simply haven’t been able to find a way to recognise the natural heritage values with a boundary that will find a balance.” That’s just not good enough. If the Coalition hear from enough people there is a chance they will move to do better for the Tarkine. Please write letter to your local Coalition MP now and find out where they stand on the Tarkine:

Last year GetUp members like Nicole lobbied their local MP urging them to protect the Tarkine – home to the last known population of healthy Tasmanian devils. A Liberal MP wrote back to Nicole saying:

“The Coalition is concerned about the health of Tasmanian Devils, not only in the Tarkine region but across Tasmania and is keen to see their well-being protected.

The protection of the sensitive environmental areas of the Tarkine is important and we understand the Government is currently considering the application for World Heritage listing for the area.”

It’s now up to us to find out where the Coalition stands on the Tarkine and the existence in the wild of the Tasmanian devil. {NAME|Friends}, can you please write a letter to your local Coalition or Independent MP and let them know that you support the protection of the Tarkine and ask for their position on the issue?

When you receive a response from your MP please send it through to us at and we’ll make all the responses public on our website – building pressure on all parties to do better for the Tarkine.

Our perseverance and determination can see this area saved.

Thanks for all that you do,
Paul, for the GetUp team.

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8th February 2013

5 things you might have missed

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It’s been a busy start to the year, but we’re back with a bumper edition of Five Things You Might have missed. Sophie kicks off the year with a round-up of what we’ve been hearing about, reading about, and thinking about as we kick off 2013…

1. January was brought to a climactic end with Julia Gillard’s unexpected announcement of the 2013 Federal Election date, to be held on September 14. Almost eight months out, speculation from every political pundit, young and old, has already begun to stir on the likely performance of our politicians in the lead up to the event.

Jane Caro laments the excessive focus placed on the PM’s so-called ‘Hipster’ glasses which, threatening to overshadow the announcement itself, has led to a flurry of witty memes about her new look. Is this a sign of the quality of the debate to come or are we simply getting the politics we deserve?

2. Sadly, a Happy Australia Day was not had by all as a result of the violent ex-tropical cyclone Oswald and flooding which ravaged the coast of QLD and North-Eastern NSW over the long weekend. New worldwide research headed by the University of Adelaide, predicts that the intensity of such extreme rainfall events are only set to increase in the near future as a result of climate change.

3. It’s time to face the facts and start a conversation, say those advocating for a permanent disaster relief fund for Australia. With frequent fires, floods and earthquakes now a fact of life, is this really an issue that we can risk putting off until the next rainy day?

4. There’s been light at the end of the rainbow for same-sex couples across Europe this week, with landmark marriage equality legislation passed in both Britain and France. With eleven countries now granting same sex couples the right to marry, it seems that Australia is slipping further and further behind.

4. Time is running out and the Australian Government looks set to receive a big fat ‘F’ on its report card from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee unless significant progress is made on key recommendations, and fast. For a full account of the grief facing the reef, take a look at the article in The Conversation here.

Last Friday, the voices of 127,040 people were heard when GetUp’s National Director, Sam McClean, met with Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, to hand over the petition to ‘Save the Reef’.
The Minister may look cheery here, but we suspect he won’t be smiling when he hears what UNESCO has to say….

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8th February 2013

The Carmichael Mine-strosity

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It’s a monstrosity. It’s two times larger than the largest coal mine in Australia and would lead to massive greenhouse emissions over the next 90 years. It flies in the face of our commitment to limit global warming and protect the Great Barrier Reef. And we’ve only got 5 days left to let the government know it must be stopped.

At every level the Carmichael coal mine is a bad idea. India’s Adani Enterprises wants to dig a 10,000 hectare coal mine, stretching over 40kms swallowing up farms, prime grazing land and the Bygana West Nature Refuge. When burnt for power generation, the coal would produce approximately 128.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, greater than the 2009 carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion in Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

If stopped, it could be a sign that Australian governments are making decisions in the interests of the people, not the mining magnates. As a nation we can’t claim to be serious about stopping climate change and saving our reef while also allowing the creation of the largest dirty coal mine we’ve ever seen – a mine that will see more damage to the Great Barrier Reef from dredging and the dumping of dredge spoils in the marine park. We can stop this, but it will take a movement to stand up to Big Mining and the vested interests of the Queensland government.

New research by The Australia Institute shows how ‘slowing down the pace of coal exports would actually result in enormous benefits to the Australian economy. It would allow our other key export industries – including manufacturing, tourism, education and agriculture – to expand, employing more people and paying more tax.’1

The status quo has long been that big miners get their own way. But we can change that. Let’s inundate the government assessment process for the Carmichael mine, pointing out the projects many flaws and showing the government the community knows this project is not in their interest:

If 100 years from now the Carmichael mega coal mine is still churning out emissions, shipping through our destroyed Reef – that’s on us. We’ll be the ones who stood by and let it happen, despite what we knew about climate projections, the unsustainability of fossil fuels and how fragile our Reef was. Luckily, our movement isn’t going to let that happen.

the GetUP team.

[1] Richard Dennis. Limiting Australia’s ballooning coal exports is good for the economy. The Conversation, February, 2013.

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7th February 2013