A Buddhist response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart
In the Uluru Statement of the Heart Australia’s First Peoples call for a Voice enshrined in the Constitution, truth telling about Australia’s history and a process of agreement making between Governments and First Nations people. They invite us all to walk with them in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
Developed by representatives of diverse Buddhist communities at a workshop convened by the Buddhist Council of NSW in Sydney on 2nd September 2023.
Image by Uluru Statement from the Heart
Authorised by Thea Ormerod on behalf of ARRCC, 264 Pitt St, Sydney. 2000.
Later this year we will vote in a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution and give them a say in issues that affect them through a Voice to Parliament. This arises from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in which First Nations people invited all Australians to walk with them. ARRCC supports a Yes vote because we believe that it will enable us to be more effective when addressing the injustices that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have suffered since colonisation, and help create a more united Australia for us all.
The Uluru Statement From the Heart, which was signed by over 250 Indigenous leaders, says that “When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.” It is an invitation to all Australians to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples “in a movement of the Australian people towards a better future.”
Dear Prime Minister Albanese
Thank you for the dedicated way that your Government is approaching the many important issues that have needed urgent attention for so long.
You may remember the multi-faith open letter  published in the Australian Financial Review on 13th October 2022. I signed it on behalf of ARRCC, along with over a hundred other leaders of faith and First Nations organisations from across Australia and the Pacific. The letter’s message was supported by hundreds of people of faith who attended thirteen events across Australia and the Pacific.
We are now requesting a reply that addresses the concerns raised. To date, our understanding is that only one signatory (Bruce Henry, the Presiding Clerk of Quakers Australia) has received a reply from your office. It only partially addressed two of the requests made and did not address the other requests at all.
Since the publication of the open letter our concerns have become even more urgent.
Elijah Interfaith Ceremony in London, 13 Nov, during COP27. Credit: Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders.
The UN COP27 climate talks ended with some significant steps forward, a certain amount of holding the line and some steps backwards. Overall, given the contrast between what was achieved and the scale and urgency of the need to move forward, it would be overly optimistic to say the talks were successful.
In particular, there was no real progress on the ‘phasedown’ of coal, oil and gas, building on a call to phasedown coal at COP26 in Glasgow. Without a more rapid phasing out of fossil fuels, humanity is on track to far exceed 1.5℃ of global heating.
I-Kiribati youth climate activists. Photo credit: Br Tabunga Etuati.
One hundred religious and First Nations leaders from across Australia and the Pacific are urging Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to take decisive action to combat climate change by stopping all new coal and gas projects and ending public subsidies to the fossil fuel sector.
Signatories to an open letter to Mr Albanese include the most senior leaders of the Anglican Church in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, the President of the National Council of Churches, the Grand Mufti of Australia, the President of the Uniting Church as well as First Nations leaders and senior leaders of the Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Brahma Kumaris religions.
As floods swamp much of Australia, people of faith know that anything is possible with faith - even a safe climate future.
A recently published book, gives hope that we can act quickly enough to help the world ensure a safe climate future.
The Superpower Transformation was written and edited by eminent economist, Professor Ross Garnaut with contributions from other experts. It was discussed by Garnaut and prominent climate activist, scientist and author, Tim Flannery, as part of the La Trobe University Ideas and Society Program.
No-one much wanted to take the risk of calling the 2022 federal election, the ‘Climate Election’, after the crushing disappointment of 2019. We have every reason to name it the ‘Climate Election’ now!
Our supporters are feeling a great sense of relief and hope, as well as a sense that the heavy weight of fear for our future is actually starting to lift. We’re at this point because of a huge and dedicated climate movement and we can be proud that we as people of faith have been a part of that.
Pictured: Women's Information Officer, Filzah Rahmat, at the Marion Mosque, SA
It is entirely reasonable for each Party and each candidate at the coming election to make their climate policies sound as desirable as possible. The question is, what claims have substance and what is empty spin?
With each candidate offering a sales pitch, everyday Australians can be forgiven for being confused about whether or not Labor’s climate policies offer a better alternative to those of the Coalition, and what Greens and independents are really offering. It is most important to get this clear.
In this article, we will try to dispassionately offer some clarity on climate policies being offered. ARRCC is nonpartisan, and attempts to offer an unbiased evaluation of what is being offered by various parties and candidates in relation to what is required to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming.
Photo: Lismore street in March 2022. Credit: Harry Creamer.
Here we go again. In northern NSW and south-east QLD we are again witnessing a high intensity rainfall and flood crisis. Lismore is suffering terrible flooding, the Clarence River is about to overflow its banks, and if the weather system moves south, Port Macquarie will get hit again, less than a year after the record-breaking floods in March 2021.
At times like this, we must respond with facts on what is driving such extreme weather. Since the north QLD floods in 2019, there have been 137 disasters declared in 398 local government areas, covering close to 20 million Australians. This is an on-going threat to our safety and security and local economies.
Humanity is interfering with natural Earth systems. As we burn fossil fuels and destroy forests, we are adding energy to the climate.
The approaching federal election is a great opportunity to help achieve a safe climate for our offspring and those who follow. It is also an important opportunity to demonstrate to our increasingly secular society, that people of faith show love with action.
What Australia does can make a difference for a safe climate future. Australia is the world’s second-largest thermal coal exporter, (used for electricity generation). (Source: Australian Government – Geoscience Australia)
ARRCC is offering opportunities for people interested in faith-based advocacy for Australia to move from laggard to climate action leader.