9 October 2007


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The recent comments of the Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews that Australia’s intake of African refugees will be cut because they were failing to integrate seems at best ill-informed and at worst a racist slur intended to win votes in the lead-up to the forthcoming election.

The Minister’s comments were widely condemned by church leaders and groups working with refugees such as the Refugee Council of Australia and the Edmund Rice Centre

Police statistics reveal that in fact a smaller percentage of Sudanese have been in trouble with the law compared to the general population. This is despite the fact that most have endured persecution, war, trauma, family breakdown and a disrupted education. The Minister’s comments detract from the efforts and achievements of many Sudanese who against the odds are working, studying and making a valuable contribution to Australia.

Perhaps rather than make an unfair generalization about a whole group of people the Minister could look at improving the level of government support provided to assist refugees integrate into the Australian community.

Perhaps too the he might consider paying a visit to one of the homework tuition sessions such as those conducted by Edmund Rice Refugee Services where he would see a group of people working harmoniously together across all barriers of age, race, culture and religion in a way that is a cause for celebration and hope, and in sharp contrast to the impression given by the Minister’s unfortunate remarks.


Each day seems to bring new warnings and grim predictions about the effects of global warming and climate change.

Who on Earth Cares? is a campaign that brings together Australians from all walks of life who are concerned about climate change and want Australia to reduce its greenhouse pollution.

As well as allowing you to place yourself on a map and indicate the personal steps you are undertaking to reduce global warming, the site allows the generation of a simple, personalised letter to send to your local political representative about why you want leadership on climate change.

Although there are signs that political leaders are appearing to respond to community concerns about this issue, to judge from the responses to the questionnaire put to all members of Parliament which were posted on the website, it appears that climate change as an issue does not seem have the urgency and priority that the mounting scientific evidence would demand.

Your participation in the above campaign is a chance to impress upon our political representatives the importance of addressing this issue.


Last year 83,000,000 people around the world including 100,000 Australians took a stand against poverty and set a new Guinness Book world record.

This year on Oct 17th organizers of the Make Poverty History campaign hope to have even more people standing up for the Millennium Development Goals and speaking out to demand an end to global poverty.

Members of the Seeds of Change group in Melbourne gathered recently to paint a banner as part of the Banners Against Poverty initiative.

Details of actions that you can organize or support can be found at the above website.

Seeds of Change Action Oct '07


Indigenous Peoples have long campaigned for recognition of their unique place in the world. Now, after 25 years, their basic rights have been agreed with the acceptance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on 13th September.

Most of the world's remaining natural resources – including minerals, fresh water and potential energy sources – are to be found within Indigenous Peoples’ territories. For the first time, this declaration provides internationally accepted standards for Indigenous Peoples; giving them a say in regard to the use and protection of resources over which they have traditionally been custodians.

In adopting this non-binding declaration protecting the human, land and resource rights of the world’s 370 million Indigenous people, 143 countries voted in favour. Sadly, four countries voted against; Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Australia.

The decision was welcomed as a significant milestone in the struggle for justice for indigenous people in this country by organizations in Australia such as ANTaR

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