Archive for February 22nd, 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