Faith-based organisations working on climate change are joining forces to challenge Australia’s weak climate policies. ARRCC is inviting supporters to work with other people of faith in their own electorates to gather signatures, on paper, for a 150-electorate mega-petition. We want the scale and breadth of mainstream faith-based support to be a factor which is impossible to ignore by the federal government, which is conducting a climate policy review later this year.
The petition calls on the Australian Government to get to net zero emissions well before 2050, transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, and support our most vulnerable global neighbours as they face increasing climate impacts. The ARRCC Committee will submit more specific “asks” as well as mobilising our constituency.
The organisations that are banding together include TEAR, Caritas and Uniting Church agencies as well as ARRCC. Across most House of Representatives Electorates each organisation has supporters, and these are being invited to work together in teams. Individual supporters may prefer to work independently, but much encouragement could come from being connected in with a group. The project will run during the first half of 2017 with all electorate-based work finishing by the end of July. Step-by-step Guides are available to teams, and ARRCC's version of the Guide is below.
It is hoped people will enjoy working with like-minded people in their own electorate to gather signatures, present these to the local MP and attract local media to the issue. ARRCC’s intention is that a greater diversity of communities represented will be a more powerful witness to the truth of the message being delivered and the breadth of the movement.
With local MP’s seeing that people of faith are so concerned about climate issues, the message will be that mainstream constituencies expect them to be advocates for strong climate policy.
The petition is formally constructed so the MP will be obliged to formally present it to the Parliament, resulting in this petition being presented to the Parliament 150 times.
Here is the Guide, suited for a multi-faith context, which gives detailed instructions for you and the team in your electorate.
Note that the date by which petitions need to be in has changed. It is now 7 August.
In each electorate, we need volunteers to take the roles of:
‘Principal Petitioner’ - someone who will be the contact person for any correspondence with the House of Representatives Petition Committee about the petition. They would also coordinate the handover of the petition to their electorate’s MP. This could be a simple handover meeting or a larger public handover event.
'Petition Organiser' - people who will promote the petition, gather signatures and help where needed.
Everyone gets sent the specific petition for their electorate when they register, eg, if the person lives in Barton the petition is addressed to Linda Burney who is the local MP.
Please formally register here.
Note that all the organisations will be sharing contact details of volunteers but that we are each agreed to confidentiality, such that these details will not be added to the data bases of each other’s organisations. They will be used for the purposes of this project only.
Wording of the petition:
To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives
This petition of concerned people/citizens of [electorate name], draws to the attention of the House the severe and urgent threat that climate change poses to the health, well-being and security of all people around the world, particularly our poorest and most vulnerable neighbours.
We remind the House that Australia’s greenhouse emissions are the highest per person among wealthy nations while our emissions reduction targets are among the weakest.
We therefore ask the House to do all in its power to protect communities in Australia and our region from the harmful impacts of climate change – such as more severe heat, extreme and unpredictable weather and rising seas – by:
- committing to deeper and more urgent reductions of our greenhouse emissions;
- developing a plan to ensure Australia achieves zero net greenhouse emissions well before 2050, and supporting families and communities affected by the transition towards renewable energy and more sustainable land use;
providing additional assistance to help our poorest neighbours adapt to the harmful impacts of climate change.
If you would like to help, just ask for the petition suited to your electorate from email@example.com. Ideally, you will be linked with like-minded others in your electorate. Alternatively, simply print out a generic copy of the petition and write in the name of your electorate at the top. After collecting signatures, please send them to Zhi Yan, Caritas Australia, GPO Box 9380, Sydney NSW 2000.
If you want to know more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love your help!